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VOL. I. 


• « 





A Pbeface may with some show of likelihood be 
compared to the confessional, wherein the public 
listens and absolves, while the author plays the part 
of penitent, although it often chances that the culprit 
is rather bent upon proving how little than how 
much he has been in fault. Sorry am I to say — but 
the truth must be told — that the latter is my case* 
notwithstanding the rebukes of some of my critics, 
who have been more violent than I can bring myself 
to believe is either just or generous, so that I feel in the 
happy plight of one more sinned against than sinning, 
a conviction, which, as perhaps many of my readers 
xnay have experienced, raises a man considerably in his 


own estimation. If little argument has been wasted 
upon me, there has been no want of hard words, which, 
however, for the present at least, I have no intention 
of retorting, though I really do not see why authors 
should not now and then imitate the old Roman tac- 
tics, when too closely pressed by the critic -foe, 
and carry war home to the gates of Carthage. 
It would in many instances be the means of saving 
their own capitals. But to do this requires a certain 
degree of bile, and for myself, having had the good 
fortune to please a tolerably numerous class of rea- 
ders, it would scarcely be becoming in me to acknow- 
ledge such a complaint ; or to vary my metaphor and 
drop a subject already too much dwelt upon, the favour 
of the public having been as steam to my little bark 
and carried it safely into harbour on its first voyage 
against wind and tide, there is no use in thinking 
any longer of the foul weather. 

One of the objects of this work has been to supply 
information upon a variety of topics that may be said 


to belong to every-day life, yet of which an account 
can seldom be got in a continuous shape, but must be 
gleaned with much time and labour from a multitude 
of sources. Another, and it can scarcely be deemed 

a secondary purpose, was to bring together a quantity 
of various matter belonging to the past, not only as 
regarded popular superstitions, customs, and pas- 
times, but many other subjects that will not admit of 
a classification. Long habits of desultory reading 
had rendered me familiar with much that lies out of 
the beaten track, till at last it became a question ^ith 
me whether some portion of so multifarious a cargo 
might not be made available for the general amuse- 
ment and information. The work once commenced 
seemed to grow upon my hands ; one discussion led 
to another, and even after the conclusion of the two 
volumes now presented to the reader, the crop re- 
maining to be reaped was to all appearance no less 
abundant than at first. But lighter and more attrac- 
tive tasks called me away, and the work was brought 
to an end yet more abruptly than the story in Hudi- 


bras of the " Bear and Fiddle," for tJiat^ as the poet 
tells us, was " broke off in the middle," whereas mine 
never reached a fourth of its way* Perhaps, however, 
it is as well so ; for him who does not happen to like 
the book, it is better he should have two volumes to 
complain of than three, while those, who think more 
favourably of it, will have all the benefit that belongs 
to rising from table ere the appetite has suffered from 

December, 18i8. 


I — 




Abate, ii. 277. 
Abrac, ii. 87. 

Abstinence, dajs of, i. 1 97. 
Acorns, used by Druids, ii. 277. 
Adonis, Temple of, i. 25. 
Advent, Divinations in, i. 45. 
^ons, ii. 76. 

^TNA, a vomitory of heU, ii. 241 
Agistments, ii. 137. 
Agnes, Saint, i. 38. 
Agub, how to cure, ii. 198. 
Alb, the, i. 192. 

Albbmarle (Duke of), his mar- 
riage, i. 257. 
Alchemists, knew the gaseous na- 
ture of water, ii. 95. 
Alchemy, its origin, ii. 39. 
Ale- Houses, i. 88. 
Ales, Bride, i. 283 ; ii. 125. 

Clerks, id. 

Church, i. 282 ; ii. 125. 

Give, i. 283. 

HufTs, i. 90. 

Lamb, i. 283. 


Quarter, id, 

Scot, id. 

Whitsun, i. 278. 

Albxandbr, Anecdote of, i. 288. 
All Fool's Day, i. 169. 
All Saint's Day, ii. 235. 

- removed to November, i, 285. 
All Souls, ii. 238. 

micus and Amelius, i. 76. 

mphitomantia, i. 42. 
Andrea,- John Valentine, ii. 43. 

his work, called Fama, &c. id, 

Andrew's (Saint) Day, ii. 263. 
Angel, meaning of, ii. 206. 

Ranks of, ii. 207. 

Angel Guardians, Feast of, ii. 

Amolers, i. 84. 
Angles, School of the, ii- 126. 
Anglo-SHXons,when the term was 
first used, ii, 127. 

Anne (St.) Eve, Divinations on, 
i. 41. 

Annunciation, Day of, 1. 130. 

Annus Communis, ii. 120. 

Anterruinon, i. 245. 

Apollo, how his altar was deco- 
rated, ii. 277. 

Apparition of St. Michael, i. 270. 

Apple-trees, custom in regard to, 
i. J9. 

April, why so called, i. 161. 

Fools, i. 169. 

— Gowks, i. 174. 

Archaus, the, i 141. 

Arisi Evans, i. 277. 

Armbr Heinrich, Poem of, i. 75. 

Arnmonath, ii. 97, 119. 

Ascension Eve, i. 275. 

Ashes, Divination by, ii. 271. 

ASHTAROTH, i. 191. 

Ash Wednesday, i. 69. 

Ass, THE Lamb, i. 105. 

Assassins, ii. 75. 

Assumption of the Virgin Mary, 

ii. 131. 
Astrologers, ii. 73. 
Astrologer's Feast, ii. 63. 
AsTRUM,i. 147. 
ASTURDAY, i. 188. 
Atalanta Fugiens^ ii. 62, 95. 
Atlantis, (New), ii. 49. 
Auricular Confession, its origin, 

ii. 334. 
Austlb, Saint, i. 203. 
Autumn, Astronomical and PopU' 

lar, ii. 282. 
Auxerre, Council of, i. 10. 
Azotu, i. 155. 

Baal-Samhan, ii. 219. 
Bachblbr, meaning of, ii. 251. 
Bacon, Blessing of, ii. 273. 

Custom of the Flitch of, 

at Tutbury, ii. 226. 

Custom at D unmoor, ii. 231 



Bakbr's Maukin, i. 61. 
Bale, i. 33 ; ii. 335. 
Balb or BasbL) i. 140. 
Balsab, Priests of, ii, 219. 
Barber's Sunday Custom, ii. 273. 
Barmonath, ii. 119. 
Barristers, Uttbr, ii. 324. 
Bartholomew Fair, ii. 160. 
Barry, Custom of the Isle of, i. 

Barringout,!. 66. 
BarvasRivbr, Superstition of, ii. 

Basilisk, i. 288. 
Battles, ii. 21. 

Bay, used by the Greeks, ii. 277. 
Baylb and his Imitators, i. 213. 
Bbaltinb or Beltinb, i. 229. 
Bean-King, i. 31. 
Beans, Given at funerals, i. 124. 

Religious uses of, id. 

Lucky in sales, i. 125. 

Held sacred by the Pythago- 

rseans, i. 126. 

King. i. 31. 

Cakes, i. 29, 125. 

Invisible, i. 309. 

Bear (The), His own doctor, i. 156. 
Beds, why called *' the Venera- 
ble," ii. 260. 

Bel, i. 228. 

Beli, Island of, i. 229. 

Bells, when first rung, ii. 268. 

forbidden on Halloween, ii. 


Bbroer et db la Bxrgbrb, Jbu 
DB, i. 235. 

Bessy, the, i. 34. 

Bete (La) Saint Loup, i. 303. 

Bethania, i. 28. 

Bittern, i. 164. 

Black-Cat, ii. 278. 

Black-Cap, ii. 279. 

Bleeding tux great tox, i. 74. 

Blood-Baths, i. 72. 

Blood of Horses, venomous, i. 

OP Bulls, id, 

OP Goats, id. 

Blossom's Inn, ii. 333. 

Blotmonath, or Blutmonath, 
ii. 234. 

Blow a Morte, ii. 188. 

a Recheate, id, 

a Seek, id. 

Boar's Head, Carol of the,ii. 312. 
Bonfires at Midsummer Eve, ii. 8, 


why 80 called, ii. 14, 16, 17. 

Book op Sports ordered to be 

burnt, i. 248. 
Booming, or Bumping, i. 164. 
Boosy, i. 18. 

BOOT-HALBRS, i. 81. 
BOHDBRIBS, i. 281. 

Bosom-Winds, ii. 152. 
Bottom -Winds, ii. 151. 
Boxing-Day, ii. 317. 

Origin of, ii. 318. 

forbidden, ii. 319. 

Boy.Bishop, Festival of, ii. 287. 

Box, i. 178. 

Brachmonath, or Braechmonath, 

ii. 2. 
Braggot, i. 128. 
Brickaderian, i. 255. 
Bride-cakes, ii. 270. 
Broom, thrown in the way of a 

witch, id. 
Brothers, the, ii. 50. 
Buckland Hag, i. 207. 
Budos, Louisa de, i. 131. 
Buildings, why left tmfinished by 

the Jews, ii. 265. 
Bull's Blood, venomous, i. 74. 
Bull's Head, the Messenger of 

Death, 1. 290. 
Bull-Running at Tutbury, ii. 132, 

^-— at Stamford, ii. 144. • 
Buns, Hot Cross, L 1 84. 
Burgonet, ii. 20. 
Burning of the Hill, ii. 273. 
Burttfh, Robert, i. 322. 
Burnet, Thomas, ii. 88. 

Cabala,orCabbala,i.l48; ii.40,91. 

various kinds of, ii. 41. 

the Masonic Secret, ii. 77. 

Caducous, Allegory of, ii. 11. 
Cakes, Whirlin, i. 123. 

Bean, i. 29, 125. 

Symnel, i. 128. 

Saffron, id. 





Cakes, Heavy, i. 266. 

Dumb, ii. 31, 276. 

on the Eve of Tirelfth Day, 

1. 18. 

on Twelfth-Night, i. 29. 

Bride, ii. 270. 

Rocking, iu 200. 

Kichell, ii. 336. 

Caks Night, ii. 217. 

Soul, ii 244, 245. 

Soul-Maw, ii 244. 

Calendar, Saxon, ii. 119. 

Campbell, Lord, his error, ii. 128. 

Candle- Rush, Dancing the, ii. 275. 
andlemas-Dat, why so adied, i. 

Candlemas Eyb, L 51. 

Candles (Lighted) carried in pro- 
cession on the day of the Puri- 
fication, i. 38. 

why lighted at Chiistmas, 

ii. 307. 

Leap-Candle, ii. 275. 

Candlesticks with sbvbm Bran- 
ches, ii. 269. 

Cansa, the Hindoo Herod, i. 26. 

Cftntilene forbidden, i. 10. 

Capitiluyium, L 175. 

Care, or Carl, Sunday, i. 119, 

Carlings, i. 123. 

Cama, ii. 2. 

Carols, Doifation of the word, 

Earliest collection of, ii. 312. 

of the Boar*8 Head, id. 

Carrinas, i. 122. 

Cart, Riding in, ignominious, 

Cavern, Inhabitants of, ii. 293. 

Cauld Lad of Hilton, u. 197. 

Ceres, how her altar was deoocated, 
ii. 277. 

Cervulus,or Cervula,Gameof^i. 11 . 

Champemoun, story of, i. 325. 

Charm against thunder, ii. 271. 

Herefordshire, ii. 278. 

Cuarette, i. 62. 

Chariot Races on the New Year, 

Chratxrs, i. 84. 

Cheese used for blessing, i. 275. 

Cherry and Fair Star, origin of, 

i. 97. 
Childermas Day, ii. 321. 
whipping of children on, ii. 


. of monks, ii. 321. 

Children, aacrifioe of; L 229. 
Chimney-Swrefbre, L 243, 261. 
Christians (Early) prayed in eeme- 

teries, ii. 300. 
Christianity, early owiupU ons of, 

ii. 167. 
Christmas Day, called Epiphany, 

i. 307. 

called Theophany, ii. 308. 

called Noel, or Nowell, id. 

Candies, iL 301. 

why candles were lighted 

upon, iL 307. 

the first day of the Anglo- 

Saxon year, ii. 310. 
Carols upon, id. 

Christmas Eve, ii. 298. 

its customs originated in the 

Saturnalia, ii 300. 

Candles, it 301. 

Decking of Houses on, ii. 302. 

Cheese, u. 303. 

Feast in Kent called the 

Rumbald, id. 

Customs at Rippon, id. 

Custom in the Isle of Man, 

u. 304. 

Customs in Germany, ii 305. 

Christmonath, ii. 281. 
Church Ales, i. 282. 
Church-House, id. 
CiNQUR-FoiL, superstition of,L245. 
Circumcision, i. 5. 
Civil year, i. 111. 
Claroes, Anne, wife of General 
Monk, L 257. 

Sir Walter, Trial of, id. 

Clement, Saint, ii. 260. 
Clbek Albs, i. 282. 
Clerks (Three), murder of, ii. 296. 
Climacteric, i. 298. 

Clogos, ii. 262. 
Clothes, Roast Meat, 11. 333. 
Coal ( A rare Coal), Divination by, 
u. 28. 





C0CKNBT8, King op, ii. 325. 
CocK» Throwing at, i. 63. 
Cockal, gaiD« of, i. 8. 
Gockell Bread, ii. 199. 
CocK-FiGHTiNGf Origin of, i. 67. 
Coleridge, his account of Christmas 

in Germany, ii. 305. 
Coleahill, Custom at, i. 195. 


Cologne, three Kings of, i. 19. 
Commessationes forbidden, i. 10. 
Conception of the Virgin, ii. 297. 
Confarrentia, ii. 270. 
CoNFBBSioN, (Atjricular) Origin 

of, ii. 334. 
Convents, Custom of, on St. 

Nicholas* Eve, iL 283< 
Cornell, ii. 138. 
Coming, Going a, ii. 298. 
Cornish Customs on May- Day, 

i. 263. 
Cornwall, Natural Pheno- 
menon IN, i. 203. 
Corpses, bleeding, ii. 198. 

, Mahometan Custom in 

regard to, ii. 265. 
Corpus Christi, ii. 6. 
Cotier, or Coythier, Jacques, i. 76. 
Country-Practices, ii. 277. 
Courts, Woodmote, ii. 136. 

Forty Days, ii. 137. 

Pie-Powder, ii. 161. 

Crispin and Crispianus, Saints, 
ii. 212. 

Crollius, 1. 146. 

Cromnyomantia, i. 41. 

Crookbd People, -i. 150. 

Cross, Crbepimg to, i. 185, 186. 

Discovery of, i. 257. 

Week, i. 273. 

— — Finding of,(Inventio Crucis), 
i. 267. 

Holy-Cross-Day, id. 

Exaltation of, ii. 167. 

Signing with, a protection 

against demons, ii. 266. 

Cross-Fell, ii. 147. 

Description of, ii. 148. 

Crosses, i. 85. 

Crouch, alias R. Burton, i. 322. 

Crumpet, the prize-fighteri i. 255. 

Cuckoo, i. J67. 

Cuckoos, i. 205. 
Cup, Sacramental, ii. 336. 
Cupid and Ptschb, i. 88. 
Custom, the servant of Venus, i. 

Cuthbert, Saint, i. 128. 
Cybele, ii. 237. 
[Cymhortha, i. 114. 

Dain, Oliver Le, i. 78. 
Damian, his Legend, iL 240. 

His Gloria Paradisi, ii. 241. 

Dance of the Salii, i. 236. 

of Fools or Mattachins, id. 

Dancing the Candle-Rush, ii. 275. 
Danish Legend, i. 63. 
Darts, Fairy, i. 210. 
David's, St., Day, i. 113. 
Day, Twelfth, the Eve o^ i. 18. 

Twelfth, i. 21. 

Easter, i. 188, 193. 

Hock, or Hoke, i. 196. 

— Hearth, i. 190 

— Saint Mark's, i. 197. 
— Ascension, or Holy Thursday, 
i. 275. 

Restoration, i. 284. 

All Saints, removed to No- 
vember, i. 285. 

of the Annunciation, i. 113. 

Saint David's, id. 

Saint Patrick's, i. 115. 

All Fools', i. 169. 
Saint Distaff's or- Saint 

Rock's, i. 32. 

Saint New Year's, i. 12. 

Saint Paul's, Prognostiaations 

on, i. 42. 

Holy Rood, i. 267, 269; ii. 


New Year's, i. 5. 

— — New Year's, in Rome, i. 6. 

New Year's, its customs de- 
rived from the Romans, i. 9. — 
Denounced by the early Fathers, 
i. 10. 

New Year's, Feast of All 

Fools, celebrated on, i. 13. 

Dead, (the) raised by the saints, 
ii. 255. 

Dead Bodies, how buried, ii. 265. 

Bleeding of, ii. 198. 



Dbath, image of, i. 128. IDruidiam, connected with Mithra- 

Debt, custom of, in the Isle of ' tic worship, i. 9. 

Man, u. 274. 
December Liberties, i. 8, 15. 
Deptford Fair, i. 286. 
Dbvil, verjr poor, i. 151. 

Death of, ii. 195. 

on Easter Daj, i. 193. 

Devil-Gilds, ii. 157. 
DsYOMSHiRB, Superstition as to 

Burns, &c.,i. 205. 
Superstition as to Cuckoos, 

Superstition of the King's 

Evil, i. 206. 
Superstition of the White- 
breasted Bird, id. 

Apple, Superstition, i. 273. 

of the Ox on Christmas Eve, 

ii. 305. 
Dew, a solvent of Gold, ii. 57. 

Symbolical of Christ, id. 

Dice, the Romans played at, with 

their slaves, i. 8. 
"—^ the bishops played, at with 

their subordinates, id. 
Divination by Water, i. 293. 
by Ashes, i. 304, 305 ; ii. 


. byaKnife, i.304. 

on Midsummer Eve, ii. 25, 


by Orpine, ii. 27. 

by a Rare Coal, ii. 28. 

• by the Dumb Cake, ii. 31. 

by Uempseed, id. 

on St. Paul's Day, i. 42. 

on St. Agnes' Eve, i. 41. 

by cromnyomanthia, i. 41, 

^^— by amphitomantia, i. 42. 
Doo, how to cure the bite of, ii. 

Doo-Dav8, ii. 100. 

end, ii. 131. 

Dog-Star, ii. 100. 
Dominica Palmarum, i 174. 

IN Ram IS P., id. 

• Magna, i. 175. 

DoYAT, Jean De, i. 78. 
Dragons of Hercules, ii. 11. 
Dragon, Red, ii. 57. 

the Romans sought to extir- 
pate it, id. 
Druids, their use of oak-leaves and 
acorns, ii. 277. 

their white robes in sacrifice, 


Droitwich, Custom at, ii. 271. 
Ducking Pond, i. 251. 
DuDOERT, ii. 174, 179. 
Dumb-Cake, ii. 'U. 
Dun MOW, Custom at, ii. 231. 

Ealdoath-Ward, i. 255. 
Earth, the Great Mother, i. 223. 

the Mother of the Gods, i. 

119. . 
Easter-Evb, i. 186. 

Day,!. 188, 193. 

Holy days, i. 194. 

Eoo, Superstition of, i. 275. 

Egyptian Mothers, i. 290. 

Elephantiasis, i. 73. 

Elixir Vita, i. 140. 

Elms, an ancient name of Smith- 
field, ii. 161. 

Emanatiov. System, i. 147. 

Emblems of the Freemasons, ii. 92. 

Embolismus, ii. 119, 120. 

Enchbson, i. 175. 

Enginb-Strbbt, i. 255. 

EosTBR, i. 164. 

Eostermonath, i. 163 ; ii. 96. 

Epimenides, the Cretan, his sleep, 
ii. 114. 

Story of, id 

Epiphany, Eve of, i. 18. 

or Twelfth Day, i. 21. 

a name given to Christmas 

Day, ii. 303. 

Erastus, i. 137. 

Erra Pater, his Prognostications, 
i. 42. 

EscuAOB, ii. 2'i7. 

Esoteric Doctrines of the Egypti- 
ans, ii. 75. 

of Moses and Plato compared, 

ii. 73. 

of the Christians, ii. 73, 77. 

— — of the Jews, ii. 76, 94. 

— —- of the Indians, ii. bA. 



EsQUBRDBP, Philip D*, i. 78. 
Eucharist, i. 188, 191. 
Even Numbers, i. 296, 298, 300. 
EVBSTRUM, i. 155. 
Evil May- Day, i. 256. 
Exaltation of the Cross, ii. 166. 

Fabaria, i. 125. 

Fadb, i. 266. 

Fair, Deptford, i. 286. 

Horn, ii.209. 

•— ^- Stourbridge, Sturbitch,ii. 169. 
——Bartholomew, ii. 160; toils 

levied at^ ii. 162 ; its Duration, 

ii. 163. 
Fairies, ii. 278. 
Fama,of Andrea, ii. 43, 91. 
Fasten, or Fastbrns, i. 68. 
Fastino^s Evbn, id. 
Fa^ts and Abstinence, how they 

differ, i. 197. 
Fathers of the Church, i. 10. 
Fauna, 1. 5. 51. 113. 164 ; ii. 4 

99. 122. 160. 203. 234. 
Faust, Klinger's, i. 79. 
Feast of Fools, i. 13. 

of Subdeacons, i. 14. 

Fbbrua, an expiatory sacrifice, i. 

Fenbsthbllis, ii. 248. 
Feni, Superstitions of, ii. 30: 
Fifolletts, or Feuxfolleto, i. 301. 
Flap Jack, i. 59. 
Fleurdelize, To, i. 314. 
Flora, i. 4. 50. 113. 168. 224. 

ii. 2. 97. 120. 168. 201. 234. 282. 
Flora, Trial of, i. 247. 
Floralia, i. 227. 
Flood, ii. 64, 66. 
Flowbrs at funerals, ii. 264. 
Folkmote, i. 222. 
Fond-Plough, i. 33. 
Fools, All, Day, i. 169. 

Feast of, i. 1 3. 

Abbot of, i. 15. 

Bishop of, i. 15, 17. 

Feast of, at Bomb, i. 170. 

Dance op, i. 236. 

their Dress, i. 239. 

made on May, i. 250. 

Football, i. 65. 

Forty Days* Courts, ii. 137. 

Anecdote of, / 
ling, ii. 89. 4 

Frederick the Great, 
ii. 9a 

Free-Mason, its meaning. 

Freemasons, Sum of their Doc- 
trines, ii. 67. 

— connected with the Templars, 

— their Secret, ii. 77, 92. 

— not connected with theGuilds, 
ii. 77. 

Lock's Letter concerning 

them, ii. 79. 
Freemasonry, ii. 35. 

I derived from Adam, id. 

when first heard of, ii. 66. 

Fig-Tree Candles, i. 293. 

Frogs, (The tongue of) a charm, i. 

Funeral Garlands, ii. 278. 
Furmity, i. 127, 128. 
Furry, i. 26a 
Song, i. 264. 

Game of Fawn, i. 11. 

Calf-Game, id. 

Ganoino-Day, ii. 208. 
Garlands, Funeral, ii. 278. 
Gassendi, ii. 64. 

Gbbsb, on Michaelmas Day ii.l86. 
on St. Stephen's Day, ii. 316. 

on Martimas Day, ii. 258. 

George, (St.^ of Cappadocia, i. 196. 1 
Gerstmonatn,i. 97; ii. 157. ' 

Ghost.Seers. i. 291. 
Giants, at Guildhall, ii. 22. 
Gibbon, a plagiarist from the 

French, i. 219. 
— His sneer at Symmachus, ii. 

Gifts, (New year's), amongst the 

Romans, i. 8. 

forbidden by the fathers, i. ] 0. 

in Queen Elizabeth's time, i. 


St. Nicholas, ii. 282. 

Christmas, whence derived. 

ii. 318, 319. 

forbidden, ii. 319. 

Gipseys, ii. 267. 

Girdle, to loose the, i. 313, 319. 

its symbols, i. 3J9, 320. 

Giuli Aftera, i. 4 ; IL 96. 



Giuli Erra, ii. 97. 

Give-Ales, i. 282. 

Gleineu Nadroeth, li. 32. 

Gnombs, i. 151, 

Goat's Blood, venomous, i. 74. 

sharpens iron, id. 

Goblin, i. 301. 
Goddb's Sunday, i. 188. 

Kichel. ii. 336. 

Goluan, ii. 13. 
Good Friday, i. 184. 
Gooding, going a, ii. 297. 
GosTBR, i. 163. 
Grass-Wbbk, i. 273. 
Graves, Bishops consecrated tbeii 
own, ii. 269. 

Roses on, ii. 274. 

Gregorie, his account of .the Boy- 
bishop, ii. 287. 

Greeks, how they decorated theii 
altars, ii. 277. 

Griddlb, ii. 219. 

Groviers, ii. 273. 

Guilds, Earliest Date of, ii. 90. 

Gule. See Yule. 

of August, ii. 122. 

Gunpowdbr-Plot Day, ii. 245. 

Guy Faux, ii. 245. 

GuYLES, i. 89. 

Gymglb-Boys, i. 89. 

Gypsibs, i. 80. 

Hackin, ii. 331. 
Hagmana, ii. 281. 
Haitho, L 27. 
Hair, to lose the, i. 313. 

a sign of royalty, i. 316. 

in the East* i. 318. 

Healths, Origin of the drinking 

of, ii. 330. 
Heard Penny, ii. 126. 
Hbarth-Day, i. 190. 
Hbavino, i. 194. 
Hblbna, finds the Grots, i. 257. 
Helm Wind, ii. 147, 148. 
Bar, u 147, 150. 

among the Lacedaemonians, tef. 

— — > among the Puritans, id, 

Haligemonath, ii. 157. 

Halsbnimo, i. 179. 

Hammer (Von), ii. 71. 

Hans, Lea, i. 300. 

Hares, Custom relating to, i. 195. 

— when ominous, i. 306. 

Harb-humtino, ii. 203. 

Hamtts, ii. 20. 

Hart (The), cures his own wounds, 

i. 156. 
Hartlepool, Customs at, ii. 116. 
Hay-thorn, Superetition of,i. 244. 

Hempseed, Divination hy, ii. 32. 

Henmonath, ii. 96. 

Hen, Thmbshino thb Fat, i. 65. 

Hercules, how his altar was de- 
corated, ii. 277. 

Lbgend of, i. 227. 

Heretics, how punished, iL 267. 

HBROD,(Story of) doubtful, ii. 321. 

Heymonath, ii. 97. 

Hilary, whence derived, i. 119. 

Hill, Burning of, ii. 273. 

Hill Head, i. 203. 

Hilton, Could Lad of, ii. 197. 

Hinzklman, i. 95. 

Hiram, the Tyrian, ii. 59. 

Historical ybar, i. 111. 

Hobby HoRSB,how dressed, i.239. 

Hock, or Hoke Day, i. 196. 

Holly, i. 51. 

Holly-Boy, i. 57. 

HoLwoRTH, Burning Cliff at, i. 

Holy Cross Day, i. 267. 

Holy Rood Day, i. 267, 269 ; ii. 
165, 167. 

Holy Thursday, i. 179. 

Honain, an Arabian physician, i. 

Horn-Bearers, ii. 269. 

Horn Fair, ii. 209. 

Horns, Blowing of, whence de- 
rived, i. 242. 

Horses' Blood, venomous, i. 74. 

Horses, how to cure when hag*rid- 

, den, i. 306. 

Horse -shoes, a charm against 
witches, i. 310. 

House, Solomon's, ii. 44. 

— ■ — of the Spiritus Sanctus, id. 

of Wisdom, ii. 73. 

r- of Sciences (new), ii. 74. 

HousBL, i. 184. 

Huckel-bone, Game of, L 8. 

Huff's Alb, i. 90. 






Hu, a name of Bel, i. 229. 
HiTLi Festival, i. 8. 169, 170,229. 
Hydrophobia, Spell against, i. 311. 
Hjpericon, i. 291. 

Inn, Blossoms, or Bosom's, ii. 333. 
Innocents' Day, ii. 321. 

Boy Bishop on, ii. 291, 

Flagellations on, ii. 322. 

Ill omened, ii. 323. 

Intentions, ii. 277. 
Invbntio Grucis, i. 267. 
Invisible, how to be, i. 309, 310. 
Invisibility, Receipt for, ii. 275. 
Invocation of Saints, the origin 

of, ii. 300. 
Isle of Man, i. 296. 
Ivy, i. 51. 
Girl, i. 57. 

Jack-a-Lbnt, i. 70. 

Jack in the Grkbn, i. 262. 

Jacks, i. 90. 

Janus, i. 1, 2. 

Jews, their ignorance, ii. 88. 

Their salutation of Christians, 

ii. 220. 
Jomet, ii. 21. 
Jours, Les Grands, i. 157. 
JuD£ (Saint) His Day, ii. 215. 
Junket, the beverage so called, i. 

Juno Februata, 1. 55. 

Kafur, ii. 293. 

Karmath, ii. 73. 

Kelds, ii. 153. 

Kble, i. 49. 

Ketellus, Story of, ii. 266. 

Kichel Cake, ii. 336. 

Kilda, (St.) Custom at the Isle of, 

i. 189. 
King of Cockneys, ii. 325. 
King's Declaration, concerning 

lawful sports, i. 266. 
King's Evil, i. 206. 
King's (Three) of Cologne, i. 19. 
Klydmonath, i. 1 10. 
Knebd Wheat, i. 127. 

Lactantius, i. 246. 

Lady-Day. i. 130. 

Lady Nant*» Well, i. 179. 

Lady's (our) Cushion, i. 240. 
Lake-Wakes, ii. 118. 
Lamb-Ales, i. 282. 
Lamb, Superstition in regard to, 

i. 275. 
Lamb's Wool, i. 127, 273. 
how made, ii. 329. 

Lammas Day, ii. 122, 126. 
Larentalia, i. 227. 
Laske, i. 292. 
Lattice, Red, i. 89. 
Launcbprisaobs, i. 85. 
Leap-Candle, ii. 275. 
Leek ; Custom of wearing it, i. 113. 
Legends, Danish, i. 63.. 

of Hercules, i. 227. 

Finding of the Cross, i. 267. 

of Saint Swithin, "i. 103. 

of the Seven Sleepers, ii. 

104 293. 

of Saint Nicholas, ii. 285, 296. 

of Saint Agnes, or Haynes, 

i. 38. 
Leghs, i. 282. 

Lenctmonath, i. 110 ; ii. 96. 
Lent Ales, i. 282. 
Lent, Derivation of, i. 71. 
Lent-Monath, i. 110. 
Lbprosie White, i. 73. 
Letiches, i. 301 . 
Libanius, i. 6. 
LidaErra,ii. 2, 96. 
Lida Aftera, ii. 96. 
Lide, i. 805. 

Light, from the East, ii. 40. 
Lifting, i. 194. 
Loaf-Mass, ii. 126. 
Locke (Pseudo) his Letter respect^ 

ing the Freemasons, ii. 79. 
Lodge or College (Rosicrucian), ii. 

Ljetarb Sunday, i. 119, 120. 
Long Meg and her Daughters,i.294. 
Lord and Lady of the May, i. 233. 
Louis XI. His last Illness and 

Death, i. 77. 
Loup Garon, i. 301. 
Love Feasts, ii. 270. 
Lowing of the Bittern, i. 164. 
Lubins, i. 301. 
Ludi Compitalii, ii. 16. 
Luke's, (Saint) Day, ii. 209. 
Lunar Superstition, 1, 46. 




Lux, ii. 57. 

Macb, its Deriyation^ i. 279. 
Macrocosm, i. 149. 
Maedrenech, ii. 119. 299. 
Magi, i. 19. 

Their Names, i. 21 

Who they really were, i. 22. 

HighJy honoured, i. 23. 

— Their classes, W. 

Annual visits to Bethlehem, 

i. 25. 

Their Number, i, 26. 

Magia, Meaning of the word, i. 22, 
Magpies prognosticate, i. S06, 

— Superstition in regard to, 
ii. 271. 

Maid Marian, i. 233. 

■ Her dress, i. 238. 

Maier, Michael, ii. 57, 59. 
Malkin Tower, i. 209. 
Maimonides, ii. 76. 
Maimun Caliph, ii. 73. 
Maiuma, Fbstival op, i. 226. 
Mambrtus. i. 271. 
Man (Isle of). Custom as to dead 
debtors, ii. 274. 

Mantuanus (Baptista), Lines from, 
ii. 166. 

Marriage, not to be solemnized 
on May-Day, i. 244. 

why celebrated in the fore- 
noon, i. 311. 

— - a receipt to know whom we 
are to have in, ii. 275, 276. 

Martin (Saint), ii. 255. 

MARTiNMAS,or Martlemas, ii. 255. 

• Custom on, ii. 259. 

Old, ii. 260. 

Martlemas Goose, ii. 258. 

Beef, id. 

Maiygold, called Sunflower, ii. 

Mary (Virgin), Nativity of, ii. 164. 

Mathematicians, i. 70 ; ii. 73, 74. 

Mattachins, i. 236. 

Maukin, i. 61. 

Maunday Thursday, i. 179. 

Maundy. Etymology op, i. 182. 

Mawle, Holy, i. 306. 

May-Day Evil, 1. 256. 

Festival, i. 225, 228. 

forbidden by the Puritans, i. 


How to be kept, i.266. 

— Superstitions, i. 244. 

May-Fair, i. 250. 

May, Lord and Lady of, i. 233 

234, 235. 
May-Music, L 267. 
Mayor's, (Lord) Day, iL 246. 

Show, ii. 247. 

Procession to the Court of 

Exchequer, ii. 204. 
Mayor and Provo8t,Story of, i. 324. 
May-Polb, i. 230, 241, 247, 248, 

256, 257, 259. 
May-Polb in LittleDrury, i. 289. 

in the Strand, id. 

Medemonath, ii. 2. 

Mei; ii. 270. 

Mendip Hills, ii. 273. 

Mbtals, Transmutation of, i. 

Mete, ii. 72. 
Michael (Saint) Apparition of, i: 

-, Account of, ii. 181. 

Michaelmas Day, 181. 

Singular custom on, ii. 189. 

Superstition attached to^ id. 

MicRocosMic Moon, i. 149. 
Midlbnt-Sunday, i. 118. 
Midsummer Eve, ii. 8. 
Midsumermonath, ii. 2. 
Midwintermonath, ii. 281. 
Minstralz, Carta de Roy de, ii. 

Minstrels, King of, ii. 135. 
Milkmaids on May-Day, i. 242* ' 
Miller of Bodmin, i. 324. 
Missi DoMiNici, i. 158. 
MisLETOB, i. 51, 116 ; ii. 276. 
Mines how discovered, i. 29. 
Mire-Crow, ii. 279. 
Molanus, ii 291. 
MoLOCH, Sacrifices to, i. 229. 
Money, how always to have 

money, ii. 278. 
Monk (General), His marriage, i. 



Months, The. January, i. 1 — 
February, i. 49— March, i. 109 
—April, i. 161— May, i. 222— 
June, ii. 1 — July, ii. 96 — Au- 
gust, ii. 129 — September, ii. 156 
— October, ii. 201 — ^November, 

, ii. 234— December, ii. 281 

Moon.Mbn, i. 80. 

Moon, (New) Custom of, in York- 
shire^ ii. 276. 

Superstition of, i. 46. 309 ; 

ii. 189. 194. 276. 

Morris Dance, i. 235. 

Morrow of a Fast, ii. 132. 

Mother-Night, ii. 119, 299. 

MoTHBRiNO Sunday, i. 119. 

Mother Church, id. 

Mother of the Gods, i. 1 19, 223. 

Mountain of Venus, i. 152. 

Mountebank's Stage, i. 252. 

Mugwort, its Medical and Magi 
cal Virtues, ii. 29. 

N — A common prefix, i. 310. 

Nativity (Christ's), Date of, not 
known, i. 4. 

of the Virgin Mary, ii. 164. 

New Style, i. 112. 

Newton (Sir Isaac), His account 
of the early Christians, ii. 299. 

New Year's Day, i. 5. 

Salutations, i. 6, 11. 

Gifts, i. 12. 

at Rome, i. 6. 

Saint New Year's Day, i. 12. 

New Year, Various times of its 
commencement, i. 4. 

CharioLraces on, id. 

Gifts among the Romans, i. 8. 

Gifts forbidden by the Coun- 
cil of Auxeire, i. 10. 

Gifts, Q. Elizabeth's passion 

Nicolas, a name of the Boy-Bishop, 

ii. 294. 
Nightingale, i. 165. 
Noel, or Nowell, Various signifi- >■ 

cations of, ii. 308. ^^ 

a corruption of Gule, ii, 30^ 

for, i. 12. 
Nicholas (Saint) His Vigil, ii. 282. 
Secret gifts upon his eve, ii. 

Custom of certain convents, 


Feast of, ii. 284. 

Legend of, ii. 285, 296. 

Nicolas, (St.) why the patron of 

scholars, ii. 296. 

Noise of Musicians, ii. 148. 
Nortons, The Two, ii. 64. 
Nosegays, worn by the Morris 

Dancers, i. 240. 
NosTocK, i. 208. 
Nut8,Their religious import, ii.215. 

Oak-leaves, used by Druids, ii. 

Octave, explained, ii. 166. 

Odd Numbers, i. 296, 298. 

Odylle, or Odilo, (SaintJ ii. 

Offa, king of Mercia, ii. 128. 

Offerings, Votive, forbidden in the 
New Testament, ii. 167. 

Old Style, i. 112. 

Oliver, Rev. George, ii. 37. 

Oliver, The, i. 285. 

Onion, Sacred among the Egyp- 
tians, i. 11. 

Onions, Divination by, i. 41, 45. 
germinate at the wane of the 

moon> i. 47. 
Oporinus, i. 143. 
Orpyn, Divination by, i. 210 ; 

ii. 27. 
Superstition in regard to, i. 

Osith, Saint, ii. 271. 
Oster-Monat, i. 163. 
Owl at Cleves, i. 289. 
Ox, on Christmas Eve, ii. 305. 

Palilia, ii. 12 
Pan, Death of, ii. 194. 
Pancake-Month, i. 49. 
Pancake-Bell, i. 58. 
Feasts, i. 68. 

PAffCAKE Tuesday, i. 58. 
Pancakes, i. 63. 
Paniscus, i. 108. 
Pantheon, ii. 237. 
Parascbne, i. 174. 
Paracelsus, Life and Doctrines 
of, L 194. 



Partbnopbx db Blois, L 92. 
Pascha Floridum, L 174. 
Paschal Sabbath, i. 188. 

Taper, i. 187. 

Passage of the Virgin Mary, ii.l30. 

pASdlON-SUNOAT, 1. 119. 

Pa8Sion-Wbbk, i. 179. 

Passovbr, i. HI. 

Pater (Erra), His predictions, i. 

PauPs (Saint) Dajj, i. 43. 

Prognostications on, id. 

Pay his English, i. 313. 
Pbas, i. 126, 127. 

Scadding of, ii. 266. 

Pbinb Fortb bt Durb, ii 334. 
Pentbcost, i. 276. 
Perambulations^ Parochial, i. 

272, 275. 
Peter Pence, ii. 126, 128. 
Pewits, Superstition in regard to, 

ii. 279. 
Phbasant Shooting, ii. 203. 
Phenombna Natural ; 

in Cornwall, i. 203. 

Helm-Wind, ii. 147, 148. 

Helm-Bar, ii. 147, 150. 

Bottom-Winds, ii. 151. 

Bosom Winds, ii. 152. 

of Primroses and Poppies, ii. 

Pie, its meaning and derivation, 

ii. 289. 
Pie- Powder Courts, ii. 161. 
Pipbr, Tom, how dressed, i. 239. 
Places, deemed fatal, ii. 267. 
Plants, Vulnerary, i. 291. 
Plbroma, i. 147. 
Plotinus, i. 221. 
Plough, Fond or Fool, i. 33. 

Women harnessed to, i. 35. 

Men harnessed to, id. 

Light, i. a7. 

drawn about the fire, id. 

Plough-Monday, i. 33. 
Pneuma, ii. 289. 
Plum-porridge, ii. 331. 
Poculum-Charitatus, ii. 326. 
PoissoN d*Atril, i. 172. 
Poison-Diet, i. 286. 
oor Hbnry, Poem of, i. 75. 
opb-Day, ii. 245. 

Poppies, Phenomenon of, ii. 155. 

Pordage, ii. 64, 66. 

Pot, Gui, L 78. 

Prater, Singular, ii. 190. 

Priogbrs, i. 84. 

Primroses, never grow in Bishop - 
stone, ii. 155. 

Processionings on Saturdays, i. 34. 

Prognostics op thb Wbathbr, 

Prosa, or Prose, ii. 289. 

Proverbs, Three, i. 313. 

Prykb, ii. 229. 

Puppets, Beheading of, L 253. 

Purification, Lighted Candles car- 
ried on the day of, L 38. 

Ptomibs, i. 152. 

Pynb, ii. 237. 

Pythagoras, ii. 68. 

his Creed, ii. 75. 

bound his followers to silence, 

ii. 94.. 

PYTHiBGIA, ii. 257. 

Quarter Alb, i. 282. 
Quintain, Played upon the water, 

i. 196. 
Quintilis, ii. 97. 
Quirinalia, i. 170. 
Quarrels, i. 61. 

Rabbit, Whitb; Prognostic of 

Death, i. 208. 
Ram sins, i. 305. 
Rates, did not exist in Aubrey's 

time, i. 282. 
Rechbat, to blow a, ii. 138. 
Kefreshmbnt Sunday, i. 11 9,1 20. 
Refrivje, or REFBRiViS, i. 125. 
Rblibfb, its meaning, ii. 227. 
Reliques, How the worship of, 

originated, ii. 300. 
Respond, A; the meaning of, ii. 

Rbstoration-Dat, i. 284. 
Resurrection, Representation of, 

i. 192. 
Revenans, i. 300. 
Rhedmonath, i. 109. 
Rhodo-Stauroticon, ii. 53. 
Riding, Women's first use of the 

side-saddle in, ii. 274. 





Ridings, ii. 248. 

Ring (Wedding), Superstition, i. 

Rings Hallowed, 1. 186. 

Roast-Mbat Clothes, ii. 333. 

Robin Hood, Sports of, i. 232. 

Rocking^Cakes, ii. 200. 

Rod, Aaron's, i. 79. 

Rogation Sunday, i. 271. 

Home.Feagh, ii. 126. 

Roman Year, i. 1. 

Rongeur D'Os, i. 383. 

Rome- Scot, ii. 126. 

Rose, its spiritual import, i.'12l. 

Sunday, L 119, 120. 

connected with Rosicrucian- 

ism, ii. 55. 

why sacred to Venus, ii. 56. 

fruit of the tree of life, id, 

of alchemical import, ii. 57. 

planted upon graves, ii. 274. 

Rose Hill, i. 266. 

Rosemary, i. 51. 
/ Rosenkreuz Christian, ii. 44. 

Rosae Crux, whence derived, ii. 55. 
/ Rosicrucianism, ii. 35. 
/ First Account of, ii. 43. 

Rosicrucians were Lutherans, ii. 

-^ — Lodges or Colleges, ii. 63. 

Leaders in England, ii. 64. 

Publications, id, 

Ros, or Dew, ii. 57. 

Rumbald, a Kentish Feast, ii. 303. 

Meaning of the word, ii. 304. 

Whitings, ii. 303. 

Round about our Coal-Fire, i. 280. 

Rye of Pease, ii. 138. 

Saba, Queen, ii. 59. 
Sacramental Cup, ii. 337. 
Sacred Yeah, 1. 111. 
Sagum, ii. 277. 
Saints (All) Day, ii. 235. 

removed, i. 285. 

St. John's Wort, i. 291> 

Saint Distaff's Day, i. 82. 

Agnes, or Hagnes, i. 38. 

Agnes' Eve, Divinations on, 

Anne's Eve, Divinations on, 


St. Paul's Day, Prognostics on, 

i. 42. 

Nicolas, Vigil of, ii. 282. 

Gifts to children and nuns, 

ii. 283. 

Feast of. ii. 284. 

Legend of, ii. 285. 

his tomb sweated oil, ii. 


the Boy Bishop, ii. 294. 

why the patron of scholars, 

ii. 296. 

Simon and Jude, ii. 215. 

Martin, ii. 255. 

— Clement, ii. 260. 

Crispin and Crispianus, ii. 


— Andrew's Day, ii. 263. 

— Thomas' Day, ii. 297. 

— Luke, his Day, ii. 209. 

— Luke, the patron of homed 
cattle, ii.211. 

Luke, painted with an ox at 

his side, id. 

David, i. 113. 

— Patrick, i. 115. 

Distaff or Rock, i. 32. 

Paul, i. 42. 

— ^— David's Day, i. 113. 

Patrick's Day, i. 115. 

Patrick, Order of, i. 118. 

Cuthbert, i. 128. 

Mark's Day or Eve, i. 197. 

AusTLE, Parish op, i. 203. 

John the Baptist, Eve of, ii. 8. 

Peter, Seven Festivals of,ii. 20. 

Swithin, ii. 102. 

Peter ad Vincula, ii. 122. 

Osith, or Sythe, ii. 271. 

Richard, tutelar patron of 

the Salt Well, id. 

^tonie-Pigs, ii. 272. 

New-Year's Day, i. 12. 

Michael, Apparition of, i. 270. 

Odylle, or Odilo, ii. 239 

Saints often raised the dead, ii. 255. 
Invocation of Saints — how 

it originated, ii. 300. 
Patrons of different classes, 

ii. 182, 187. 

Protectors against various 

diseases, &c. ii. 182. 



Salbrmo, famous for its Medical 1 
School, i. 76. 

Salkeld, Curious Remains at, i. 

Salt, a chann against evil spirits, 

i. 311. 
The falling of, u. 278. 

Saltatio Pykrhica, i. 236. 

Sapientes, or Sophis, ii. 63. 

Sarum, Monument in the cathe- 
dral of, ii. 287, 

Sattrisci, i. 108, 

Say. ii. 21, 

Scadding of Peas, ii. 266. 

Scalds and Burns, i. 205. 

School of the Angles, ii. 126. 

Scot- Ales, i. 282. 

Sea, Custom at, ii. 265. 

Seasons, Astronomical, ii. 281. 

Popular, id. 

Seek, to blow a, ii. 138. 

Sengyll, ii. 138 

Sbnnbrt, i. 135. 

Sephiroths, ii. 76. 

Septenary, i. 296, 298. 

Sequents, or Sequentia, ii. 289. 

Seremonath, ii. 96, 

Serpent Eggs, ii. 33. 

Seven Sleepers. Legend of, ii. 104. 

Cavern of, u. 293. 

Shale, i. 305. 

Shamrock, 1. 117. 

Shaving of Priests, ii. 265. 

Sunday, iL 273. 

Sheep, the Golden-fleeced, i. 

Shepherd's Market, i. 250. 

Sheers, or Shere, the meaning 
of, i. 181. 

Shere Thursday, id. 

Shony, ii. 217. 

Shrove Tuesday, i. 58. 

Side-saddle, when first used by 
women, ii. 274. 

Sieve and Shears, i. 306. 

SiLENts, i. 177. 

Silly How, i. 311. 

Simon, (Saint) his day, ii. 215. 

SiTH, ii. 220. 

Skibbs, ii. 250. 

Slaights, i. 282. 

Sleepers, the Seven, ii. 104. 

Smithfield, whence derived, ii. 160. 

at one time called ** The 

Elms," ii. 161. 

Snails, Superstition in regard to, 

Snake-stones, ii. 32. 

Eggs, ii. 33. 

Snakes, their Meetings, ii. 32. 

Snap Dragon, its magical quali- 
ties, i. 245. 

Solmonath, i. 49 ; ii 96. 

Solomon*8 house, ii. 44. 

Solomon, a Rosicrucian, id. 

Solstice, Summer, ii. 8. 

Winter, i. 2. 

Solstices, the head and tail of tbt 
dragon, ii. 10. 

Solstitialis, ii. 2. 

Souls, All, ii. 238. 

Soul-Cakes, ii. 244, 245. 

Soul-Mass Cakes, id. 

Spirits, i. 151. 

Spring, Astronomical and Popular, 
ii. 281. 

Sports, Book op, ordered to be 
burnt, i. 248. 

King*s Declaration concern- 
ing, i. 266. 

Sprout Kelb, i. 49. 

Squinansy, L 73. 

S. S. CuUars, ii. 253. 

Staffordshire, Pewits in, ii. 279. 

Stanley, Venezia, i. 287. 

Stars, Falling, i. 208. 

Stephen's (Saint) Day, Horses 
bled on, ii. 315. 

Sword dance on, ii. 316. 

Goose upon, ii. 316. 

Boxing upon, ii. 318. 

Stoke Verdon,ii. 211. 

Stole, White, i. 193. 

Stonehenge, i. 293. 

Stork (The), uses salt-water as a 
medicine, i. 156. 

Strong Woman, i. 253. 

Stylb, Old and New, i. 112. 

Subdeacons, Feast of, i. 14. 

Suitors, i. 325. 

Summer, Astronomical and Po- 
pular, u. 282. 

Summer Solstice, ii. 8. 

Sun, dancing on Easter-Day ,i.l91 . 



Sunday, Midlent, L 118. 

Mothering, i. 119. 

Sunday, Rose, i. 119, 120. 

LiETARB, i. 119, 121. 

Garb, or Carl, i. 119, 121, 


— Passion, i. 119. 

— — Refreshment, i. 119, 120. 

Palm, L 1 74. 

Godde's, i. 188. 

Rogation, i. 271. 

Whit, i. 276. 

Trinity, i. 285. 

Shaving on, ii. 273. 

Sunflower, called Marygold,ii.l59. 

in regard toAppleTrees, i.l9. 

Drawing lota, ii. 24, 64. 

Diyinations of Midsummer's 

Eve, ii. 25, 27. 
of Artemisia or Mugwort, ii. 

28, 29. 

of Fern, ii. 30. 

of the Dumb Cake, ii. 31. 

— of Hempseed, ii. 32. 
of Snakes, id, 

— ~ on St. Anne's Eve, i. 41. 

on St. Agnes* Eve, id, 

on St. Paul's Day, i. 42. 

in Advent, i. 46. 

of the Moon, i. 46. 

of Spayed Bitches, i. 47. 

of Waflfs or Whifl*s, ii. 117. 

of Bad Prayers, id. 

Superstitions, Popular. 

— of Scalds and Burns, i. 205. 
of Cuckoos, id. 

of the King's Evil, i. 206. 

. of the W^ite-breasted Bird, 


of Brereton, id. 

of the Buckland Hag, i. 207. 

of Falling Stars, i. 208. 

of White Rabbits, id. 

of ^alkin Tower, i. 209. 

of discovering Mines, id. 

of Midsummer Men, i. 210. 

of Waflfs, Whiflfs, or Swarths, 

of Thunder, id, 

— of Fairy Darts, id, 
of May-day, i. 244. 

Superstitions, Popular. 

of Cinque-foil, i. 245. 

of Lamb on Ascension Day, 

i. 275. 

of Eggs on Ascension Day, id. 

of the Basilisk, i. 288. 

of Women standing bare in 

storms, i.289. 

of Frogs, id, 

of the Owl, id. 

of Vulnerary Plants, i. 291. 

of Ghost Seers, id, 

of St. John's Wort and Ver- 
vain, id. 

of a Pool near N. Taunton, 

i. 293. 

of Numbers, id. 

of Les Hans, i. 300. 

— of Revenans, id, 

Fifollets, i. 301. 

Letiches, id. 

Lubins, id. 

Goblin, id. 

Loup Garon, i. 302. 

Rongeur D'os, i. 303. 

La tete Saint Loup, id. 

in North Wiltshire, i. 304. 

of choosingValentines, i. 305. 

of Lide and Ramsins, id. 

of Onions, i. 44, 45, 47. 

how to raise the Wind,i. G05. 

of the Teeth, id, 

of Hares, i. 306. 

of the Holy Mawle, id. 

of the Sieve and Shears, id. 

of Magpies, trf. 

of Running Streams, id, 

— of Horses hag-ridden, id. 

— of Thief in a Candle, id. 
of Whinny Moor, i. 307. 

— of the New Moon, i. 309. 

— of Invisible Beans, id, 

of Thunder, i. 310. 

of Horseshoes, id. 

of Invisibility, id, 

— of the Silly-How, i. 311 . 

of Salt, id, 

of Unlucky Hours, id. 

— Spell against Hydrophobia, 

— of the Jews as to Houses^ 
ii. 265. 



SupsRSTiTioNS, Popular. 

in regard to the Sea, id. 

of signing with the Croft, 

ii. 266. 
of Places deemed fatal, ii. 


a Chaim against Thunder, 

ii. 270. 

in regard to Ashes, ii. 271. 

of Magpies, id. 

of Inyisibility, ii. 275. 

of seeing Lovers, ii. 275, 276. 

of Dumb Cakes, ii. 31, 276. 

of the New Moon in York- 
shire, ii. 276. 

of the Mistletoe, id. 

of black Cats, ii. 278. 

of the falling of Salt, id, 

of Fairies, ^. 

of Pewits, ii. 279. 

of the Ox on Christmas Eve, 

u. 305. 

Swanimote, ii. 237. 

SWARTH, i. 210. 

SwiTHiN (Saint), ii. 103. 

Stlphs, i. 15 J. 

Symbols, the practice of, whence 
derived, ii. 61. 

Symmachus, ii. 185. 

Symposiarch, how elected, i. 29. 

Synod, Constantinopolitan in 867, 
i. 295. 

Synodals, ii. 290. 

Thrift, worn by the Morris 

Dancers, i. 240. 
Thunder, L 210, 310. 

charm against, ii. 270. 

TiDDT Doll, i. 254. 
Tim Tattbrs, i. 60. 
TiMYCHA, Story of, i. 126. 
Toasts, origin of, ii. 380. 
Toledo, Council of, i. 11. 
Town- waits, i. 65. 
Transfiguration, iu 130. 
Transmutation op Metals, i. 

Travbrs, i. 186. 
Trarambs, i. 155. 
Trbaburk-Sebkino, i. 153. 
Trefoil, i. 116. 
Trilidi, ii. 120. 
Truckle- Chbbsb, i. 57. 
TruUum, or Trullan Council, ii. 

Tutbury, Bull Running at, ii. 

132, 140. 
, custom of the Flitch of 

Bacon at, ii. 226. 
Tuck, Friar, i. 235. 
his Dress, i. 288. 

Twelfth-Day, Eve of, i. 18. 

why so called, i. 1 9. 

or Epiphany, i. 21. 

T.SNAROS, 1. 105. 

Talus, L 8. 

Tansy Cakes, i. 196. 

Tantonie Pigs, ii. 272. 

Teend (To), ii. 802. 

Teeth, L 305. 

Templars, ii. 72, 73. 

Tempests, Origin of, i. 154. 

Tensers, i. 179, 180. 

TsRMINALLk, i. 272. 

Thamus, the Pilot, ii. ] 95. 

Theodoretus, iL 57. 

Theophylact, introduces Feast of 

Fools, i. 13. 
— — His death, i. 14. 
Thirteen, a bad Omen, i. 299. 
Thomas (St ) Day, ii. 297. 
Threshing the pat Hbn, i. 65. 

Twelfth-Night, i. 29. 
Tythes, originated with Saint 
S within, ii. 103. 

Ule. See Yule. 
Unlucky Hours, i. 311. 
Utter Barristers, ii. 324. 

Valentine, Saint, i. 55. 

Valentine's Day, id. 

Valentines, how to choose, i. 305. 

Vasudeva, i. 26. 

Venus, Mountain op, i. 152. 

Verses, Meaning of, ii. 290. 

Vervain, i. 291. 

Vesuvius, a vomitory of hell, ii. 

Vetula, Game of, i. 11. 
Vigilantius, ii. 307. 
Vigil, explained, ii. 166. 
Vigils, People sate up all night 

on, i. 282. 



Virgin Mary, Assumption o^ ii. 


Nativity of, ii. 164. 

Conception of, ii. 296. 

YoLTAiRB, his attacks on Shak- 

speare, L 216. 
Vulcan, Islb of, ii. 241. 

Waff or Whifp, i. 210. 

Waits, ii. 252. 311. 

Walnuts used at Weddings, ii. 216. 

Ward, John, ii. 190. 

Wassailing in Herefordshire, i. 19. 

Wassbl-Bowl, il 326. 329. 

Was-Habl, of Saxon origin, n» 

how derived, ii. 329. 

Water- Prognostics, i. 293. 

Watch, City, ii. 18. 

Weedmonath, iL 2, 96, 119. 

Well, Ladt N ant's, i. 179. 

Well- worship, ii. 271. 

Were-Wolf, i. 301. 

Weydmonath, ii. 2. 

Wheel, how a symbol of the sun's 
descent, ii. 17. 

Whichnor, Whichenour, Manor 
of, iL 228. 

Whiffler, explained, ii. 19. 

Whiffs, etymology of, ii. 117. 250. 

Whinny Moor, L 307. 

Whiskins, i. 90. 

White-Plough, i. 33. 

Whitsuv-Albs, i. 278. 

Whitsuntide, i. 276. 

Will o' the Wisp, i. 301. 

Willow, substituted for Palm, L 

Winds, Helm, ii. 147, 148. 

Bottom, ii. 151. 

— Bosom, ii. 152. 

Winter, Astronomical and Popu- 
lar, ii. 28. 

WinterfyUeth, ii. 120. 
Wintermonath, ii. 281. 
Winter Solstice, i. 2. 
Wint or Wind Monath, ii. 234. 
With, i. 178. 
Woedmonath, ii. 2. 
Wolfmonat, i. 4. 
Woman, Strong, i. 253. 
Women, a charm against light- 
ning, i. 288. 
Woodmasters, ii. 137. 
Woodmote-Court, ii. 136. 
Woodward, ii. 137. 
Worthies, thb Nine, ii. 337. 

Female, u. 339. 

Wren, burying of the, ii. 304. 
Wynmonath, ii. 97. 

Y — A common prefix, i. 310. 
Ybab, Sacred, i. 111. 
Civil, id. 

— Historical, id, 
-'— Embolismal, 
Roman, i. 1. 

New, differ^t times of its 

commencement, L 4. 111. 

Seasons of, i. 281. 

Eve, ii. 327. 

Yeomen's Daughters, i. 84. 

Yew, i. 178. 

Yole. See Yule. 

Youle, i. 305. 

Yule,i. 8, 229; u. 122, 125. 309. 

— Brand, i. 51. 

Clog, or Log, i. 51 ; iL 301, 

Yule-Dough, ii. 332. 
Yuling-Sop, i. 273. 

Zephyrinus, ii. 335. 
Zoroaster, his prediction respect- 
ing Christ, i. 24, 26. 




This month takes its name from the Latin Januarius, 
which itself was derived from Janus, the two-faced God, 
who looked both before and behind, and hence was 
chosen by Numa as typifying the New Year, that ^ood 
between the past and the future, and might thus be 
said to look both ways at once.* Prior to the time 
of this monarch the Roman year had but ten months, 
and commenced with March ; but he added January and 
February, making it begin with January, though the 
months, quintilis, sextilis, &c. still retained their old 
designations, as if no change had taken place in the Ro- 
man calendar, t 

* '* In duos novofl menses pari ratione dlvisit, ac de duobus priorem 
Januarium nuncupavit, primumque anni esse voluit, tanquam bicipitis 
Dei mensem, respicientem ac prospicientem transacti anni iinem 
futurique principia." — Aur. Macrobii Satumal. Lib. i. cap. xiii. p. 

+ *Pofiaioi Sk *6Tt fikv SsKa firjva^ tig rov kviavrSv trarrov, s ^w- 
etKa, TiKfiripiOv ri rov TiXtwaia Trpotrrjyopia, SkicaTov yap aifrbv 
dxpi vvv KoKovatv, 8ri $k rov Maprcov irpwTOV, ri Ta^ig USriXoi ' 
rov ydp in UtivB irkfivrov, UaXtiv nf/jurrov • ^ktov di rov Iktov 

VOL. I, / n 


It may seeQi strange that Romulus should have made 
the year begin with winter, and not with spring, which^ 
as the opener of all things, would more naturally seem 
to be its commencement. To this doubt Ovid has re- 
turned an ingenious^ though perhaps not a very satis- 
factory answer^ through the mouth of his God^ Janus : — 
"The Winter Solstice is the first of the new sun, and the 
ast of the old ; the year and the sun have the same origin."* 
It may be permitted to us to doubt whether the office, 
which Ovid himself has assigned to Janus, would not 
better account for his being placed at the head of the 
months ; he was the door-keeper of heaven and earth, f 
'Jupiter himself could not go in or out unless he opened 
the door for him, and thus he seems naturally enough 
to have been the porter, opening the gates of time to the 

Kal Ttav d\\(ov ktpt^rjg SfioiwQ UKaffTOV, 'Eirtl rbv 'lavadpiov {kuI 
rbv ^tpptidpiov) fTpb rS Maprt8 riOtfikvoig trvvkpaivtv abrolQ rbv 
tipripLsvov lATJvttt rrsfJtnTov fikv bvofidKfiVy ^pdofiov 5* ApiOfifiv,** — 
" That the Romans divided the year into ten months, and not into 
twelve, is proved by the name of the last month, for they called it the 
tenth ; that March was the first of them is proved by their order, since 
the fifth from March is called Qointilis, — the sixth, Sextilis, — ^and so for 
the rest. Now if they had added January (and February) to March, 
the Quintilis would have been called the seventh." pLrjTARCHi Numa, 
p. 286. Tom. i. — Editio Beiskii. Alexander ab Alexandra^ however, 
says — ^* Januarius Junoni esset sacer.*' — January was sacred to Juno. 
— Gbniales Dibs, Lib. iii. cap. 24, p. 835. 

* '* Bruma novi prima est, veterisque novissima solis ; 
Principium capiunt Phcebus et annus idem." 

Fastorum, Lib. i. v. 163. 

f '' Me penes est unum vasti custodia mundi 

Et jus vertendi cardinis omne meum est. 
« * * * * 

Praesideo foribus cseli cum mitibus Horis ; 
It, redit, officio Jupiter ipse meo.'' 

Idem, y. 119— 125. ~ 


New Year. Plutarch, however, has adduced other rea- 
sons. He firsts suggests that Nunia, who was a lover of 
peace and its attendant arts, might have dedicated the 
beginning of the year to Janus, as being a God more 
favourable to civil institutions and the cultivation of the 
soil than to war;* at the same time he is more inclined 
to believe Numa made this choice from the fact that the 
sun, having completed his advance and now retrograding, 
there is also a certain change in nature, the nights being 
diminished in duration and the days encreased.f 

If it be difficult to choose amongst these reasons, it 
seems yet harder to say why the Christians should have 
chosen this month in the early ages as the commence- 
ment of their year. Baronius, in his Martyrology, sup- 
poses that they did so because about this time Christ was 
born, and by his rising illuminated as it were the world, 

* Ncf/xac ^* avQiQ tiptivixbc yivo/uvoQy Kai wpbg Ipya r^c 7^C 
^iKoTifioufiivoc Tpkvaai ttjv ttoXiv, dvouTrioai Si t<Sv iroXtfiiKiiSvi 
Tip ^lavaapitp rrjv riyifioviav ldcjK€j Kai rbv *lav6v (Iq rifidc rrpo- 
fiyayt fieydXag iog 'jtoXitikov koI ytutpyiKov paWov fj TroXc/iiicdv 
ytvofABvov.'* Plutarchx QuiBSTioNES RoMANiB. Q. 19, p. 86, torn. vii. 
EiUt, Reiskiu—p. 67. torn. ii. Editio Wyitenbachii. ^'Numa on the 
other handy who was fond of peace, and desirous of directing the at- 
tention of the citj to agriculture while he turned it from war, assigned 
the first place to January, and gave great honour to Janus, as being 
more given to ciTil and agricultural pursuits than to arms.'* 

f'Api'^a dk oi rj)v ptrd rpoirdg xci/icpidtc XapPdvovrtQ^ otrrjviKa 
tS tcpotrta fiahZ^tiv trtvavpkvoQ 6 ^Xioc ^vidTpk^a Kai dvatca/iTrrcc 
TToKiv trpbQ rifidg, yivirai ydp ahrdiq Tp6trov rivd Kai ^vau, rbv 
fikv re ^(jjrbg avKsva xpovov iffiiv, pttitra dk rbv to (TKornQykyyvTkpia 
Sk troisffa rbv Kvpiov Kai rjyepSva rijc pevffrijc sffiag dirdffrjc,'* Id, 
p. 68, Wyttenbachii. 86, Reiskii. " But they do best, who commence 
the year with the winter solstice, when the sun, having ceased to 
advance, turns back, and directs his course again towards us. For 
then there is a revolution, as it were, in nature, which encreases the 
time of light, lessens that of darkness, and brings nearer to us the^ 
Lord and principle of all moving nature.*' 

B 2 


till then obscured by darkness.* To such puerile bab- 
bling, it is only necessary to reply that it is far from 
being certain in what month Christ was bom, and in the 
absence of any better guide we may safely infer that the 
Christians adapted this aera^ as they did so many of their 
customs, from the heathens^ without any reasoning upon 
the matter. Why should they not have done so ? 

But though in the first instance the Roman mode of 
computation prevailed, yet this was far from being fixed 
or general. The New Year has at different times and 
places commenced on Christmas Day, i. e. the ^5th of De- 
cember 5 on the Day of the Circumcision, i. e. the 1st of 
January ; on the Day of the Conception, 1. e. the 25th of 
March ; and on Easter Day, or the day of the Resurrec- 
tion ; nor was it till a comparatively recent period that 
a general rule was adopted. 

By the Anglo-Saxons this month was named Wolfmonat, 
and GiuU A/tera, The first of these names it received 
*' because people are wont always in that month to be in 
more danger to be devoured of wolves than in any season 
else of the year ; for that through the extremity of cold 
and snow these ravenous creatures could not find of other 
beasts sufficient to feed upon.'*t It was called, GiuU 
A/tera, as being immediately after, or second to, Christ- 
mas. The derivation of this word will be found in 
its proper place hereafter, when I shall have occasion to 
speak of the summer solstice. 

The principal vegetable productions of this season are 
the various mosses. The Early Moss may now be ga- 
thered ; the Yellow TremeUa is seen on palings, rotten wood, 

* **Quud his fenne diebus novus Sol, ipse Christus, redemptor 
Boster, mundo offuso tenebris, nasces, illuxit." — Martyrologium 
Roman UM — Katendia Januarii. 

f Vbrsthoan's Rbbtitution of Dbcaybd Intblligbncb, p. 64, 
8vo. London, 1673* 


&€. and both the Straight Screw M088 and the Hygrometic 
Moss are in fructuation. But these are not the only 
signs of vegetable life independent of the few herbs and 
greens grown for culinary ^purposes in the garden; the 
Ltturestine, the White Butterbur, and the Christmas Rose, all 
flower at different periods of the month, and about the 
time of its drawing to a close a single snow- drop may be 
occasionally seen ; or, if the year be very mild, a primrose 
will peep out upon a warm bank. 

Even after the middle of January considerable flocks 
of fieldfares may be seen ; but, as it yet farther advances, 
the severity of the season encreases, and the wild quad- 
rupeds are driven from their accustomed haunts. Hares 
enter the gardens to browze on the few remaining vege- 
tables, and the foxes are more than usually bold In plun- 
dering the hen-roosts. 

Thb Circumcision ; Nkw Year's Day. — January Ist. — 
The festival of the Circumcision is, comparatively speak- 
ing, of modern date ; no mention of such an observance 
being made by the antient fathers of the church, nor does 
it occur in Saint Isidore or any similar writer, fiaronius 
too confirms this notion by observing that this day is 
indeed called both the Circumcision and the Octave of the 
Nativity, but that in the antient manuscripts it has the 
latter name only.* 

The New Year has been from time immemorial, what 
it now is, one of those resting points in life, at which by 
a happy delusion men persuade themselves the current of 
things is about to change with them for the better. It 
is welcomed like a new sovereign, till a very brief expe- 
rience suffices to teach us that the reign of the one and 

* '*' Et Circumcisio Domini, et Natlvitatis Octava, dicitur. In 
antiquis manuscriptis nonnunqua titulo tantum Octavse 'Natalia 
Domini pronotatus hie dies legitor." — Martyrolog. Bomanum — 
Kalendis Januarii. 


the advent of the other have made but very little real 
alteration, or it may even be an alteration for the worse. 
All this however does not prevent hope from playing the 
same game as the season comes round again, so that 
we are perpetually wishing each other "a happy new 
year !" a custom which existed among the Romans, and 
may probably boast of a much higher antiquity. We 
have the fact recorded by Ovid, who in a friendly dialogue 
between himself and Janus, asks the reason of such an 
observance, to which the communicative God replies, 
leaning familiarly on his stick as one disposed for a 
gossip, — " omens are attached to the commencement 
of all things; it is the first sound you hear, the first 
bird you see, that becomes an omen."* The reason- 
ing of the deity may not be the most convincing, but the 
fact of the New Year's salutation is proved by the ques- 
tion of the poet.f 

New Year's Day has in all ages, and among all people, 
been a time of rejoicing. Libanius, the rhetorician, has 
left us a vivid account of the manner in which it was cele- 
brated among the Romans, and as the greater part of our 
New Year's customs have come to us from that source, a 
brief epitome of his amusing pages will scarcely be 
thought irrelevant to our present pnrpose.J 

He sets out with informing us that all men love holy- 
days^ an assertion which few will be inclined to dispute ; 

* " Turn Deus IncumbenB baculo, quem dextra gerebat, 
Omina principliB, inquit, inesse solent. 
Ad primam yoeem timidas advertitis aures, 
Et primfim visum consnlit augur avem." 

OviDii Fasti, Lib. 1. v. 177. 
+ " At cur leeta tuis dicuntur verba Calendis 
Et damns altemas accipimusgue preces ?*' 

OviDii Fasti Lib. 1. v. 175. 

X Aifiaviov (ro0i(Trov 'Bx^pciffeig — 'EKiftpaais 'K^aXdvSkfv — Libanii 
Orationes Er'DECLAMATioNBS. Joc, /7et«Are, ed.<— vol. iv. p. 1053. 


and then adds^ that there are four kinde of festivals— the 
firsts peculiar to families 5 the second, to cities ; the third, 
to nations ; and a fourth, common to all the people living 
under the Roman empire, and which takes place when the 
old year has ended, and the new one has begun. On the 
day before the calends the whole city was in a fever of 
expectation, and as the evening advanced a jubilee pre- 
vailed among all classes, the forum being crowded with 
people. Presents too of all kinds might be seen passing 
to and fro jn every quarter of the city, some for ornament, 
and others for the table ; some from the rich to the poor, 
and others from the poor to the rich 3 some amongst the 
wealthy classes, and others in like manner among those 
who had little to give, but who loved the old custom too 
well to let it pass by unhonoured. 

But this merry-making by day would seem to have been 
little more than a prologue, though a very jovial one, to 
the revel that followed sunset. Deep in the night all was 
song and dance, laugh and jest, both in the streets and at 
home ; no one thought of sleeping : or, if any drowsy 
folks were so inclined to offend against the laws of good 
fellowship, they were quickly taught that the liberty of 
rest and quiet was the only liberty not allowed at such a 
season. The obstreperous revellers would knock long 
and loudly at their doors ; and, the more angry they were, 
the greater was the delight of their tormentors as well as 
of the casual passers-by, who thought the joke much tuo 
good to be interrupted. 

It is probable that these previous, or introductory, fes. 
tivities were not capable of much augmentation, yet still 
it was with day- break that the real business of the season 
may be said to have commenced. The columns and 
porches of the houses were wreathed with laurel or other 
green branches, and troops of gay companions might be 


seen, clad for .the most part in purple, and bearing small 
torches, viho accompanied with acclamations some rich 
man* on horseback to the shrines and temples. Servants 
followed and scattered gold amongst the people, so that 
a constant scramble was kept up to the great amusement 
of all parties. 

Having performed the usual sacrifices to the Gods, they 
then went round to the magistrates, and bestowed New 
Year's gifts upon their servants. But this was all done 
openly, the money passing through the hands of those in 
office to their subordinates, and the former kissing the 
person to whom he presented the intended gift. Others 
imitated this example ; gold flowed about freely on all 
sides ; and the revelry in consequence soon reached its 
height, for at a time like this there were few hoarders 
amongst any class. So ended the first day. 

On the second day the festival assumed another cha- 
racter. There was now no more exchanging of gifts, 
people for the most part remaining at home, while masters 
and servants played promiscuously at dice and cockal,t 
all ranks being levelled for the season ; % and, what per- 

* In the Greek it is " dvBpa iTrworpSipov,^* one who breeds horses, a 
curious phrase, as seeming to indicate that the breeding of horses was 
the occupation of men of rank and fortune. Reiske, who explains it 
bj einen reichen und vomehmen ManUf says that Libanius alludes to 
the consul. 

t CocKAL is a game in which four pastern bones of certain animals 
properly marked were thrown like dice ; and hence among the Romans 
it had the name of talus, which signifies the pastern-bone of a beast. 
How it ever came to be called cockal or huckel-hone bj us is more than 
I can account for, these words alluding to a very different part of the 
animal anatomy. 

X This was imitated even by the clergy in their Dbcbmbbr Liber- 
ties — Libertas Decembrica. — ** Sunt nonnullee ecclesiee, in quibut 
usitatum est ut vel etiam eplscopi et archiepiscopi in Caenobiis cum 
suis ludant subditis, ita ut etiam sese ad lusum pilae demittunt. Atque 
hsec quidem libertas ideo dicta est Decembrica, qu&d olim apud 


baps the latter valued as a higher privilege, they might be 
drunk or lazy without the slightest fear of punishment. 

On the third day were the chariot-races, which pro- 
duced an agreeable variety not only by the courses theui- 
selves, but by the disputes to which they gave rise. The 
hippodrome was crowded, and in it for the greater con- 
venience of the people were baths and dice-tables, so that 
night as well as day was passed in riot. 

The fourth day somewhat diminished the excesses of 
the festival, though even the fifth did not quite put an 
end to them ; people still continued lingering about the 
flesh-pots of Egypt, and it was only slowly and reluctantly 
that they at length returned to their usual occupation. 

This is the substance of what has been recorded by Li- 
banius ; and it is useful to be borne in mind, the New Year 
festival of the Romans being unquestionably the origin of 
the same festival among the early Christians. That it was 
imported into Britain with the new religion seems highly 
probable 5 but at the same time we must not forget that the 
Mithraic worship of the Hindoos had a kindred ceremony 
in the huU, though at a different season, and that there 
was an undeniable connection between Druidism and the 
creed of Mithra. It is possible therefore that at least a 
part of these festal customs may have existed in Britain^ 
together with Druidism, long before the introduction of 
Christianity among us, though it would be put down by 
the Romans to the utmost of their power upon their in- 
vasion of the island. From political motives they sought 
to extirpate the Druids, and abolish everything that could 
serve to keep the people in mind of them, for in the ruling 
religion they found the most determined obstacle to all 

ethnicos moris fuerit ut hoc mense servi et ancillSy et pastores, velut 
quadam libertate donarentur, fierentque cam dominis suis pari condi- 
tioner communia festa agentes post collectionem measium. Bblbtus 
Da DiviN. Offic. Cap. 120. 




their views of conquest. For a long time it kept up the 
spirit of the people^ who like the followers of Mahomet, 
the soldiers of the Crusade, or the fanatics of Cromwell, 
felt convinced that they were fighting not only their own 
battles, but the battles of the deity. 

Whencesoever derived, these customs gave great 
offence to the early Fathers of the Church as Christianity 
became more firmly established and they felt themselves 
in a position to dictate. But though to make the 
heathens abandon their Gods was comparatively speaking 
an easy matter, it seems to have been a very different 
thing when in the sour and jealous spirit of fanaticism 
they took up arms against the popular amusements. 
They then found the people much more zealous for their 
pleasures than they had been for their deities. They 
persisted however ; denouncing all such observances in 
their sermons, and prohibiting them by their canons, 
under penalty of expulsion from the bosom of the Church. 
With more zeal than discretion they forbade the deco- 
rating of houses with laurel,* and made it a capital sin 
for men to masquerade in female attire, or for women to 
assume the dress of men. Nay, even the cantilena and 
the commesmtiones — the public carolling and feasting — 
were ^ut under the ban ecclesiastic ; and to make their 
point yet more sure, the zealous fathers ordained the 
observance of a fast. For the same reason the strensB, 
or new-year's gifts, were forbidden by the Council of 
Auxerre in 614, which stigmatized them as diabolical ) but 
though these prohibitions do not appear to have done 
much good at the time, yet they have taught us many 
customs, of which we otherwise should most probably 

* ** Ex Grscorum Sjnodis Martinus Bracharen. collect, c. 73, recitat 
▼etitum ease Christianis ea Kalendaru die Tiridi lauro vel aliis virent- 
ibufl arboru ramis omare domos.'* Marttrolooium Komamum. 
KalencUt Januarii. 


have known little or nothing. Thus the canon which 
forbids the profane Gabie op Fawn (cervuUts or cervulqj 
and the no less wicked Calf-game (vetula) punishing the 
offenders with a three years* penance^ conveys a valuable 
hint to antiquarians^ and hence we learn that it was the 
Roman practice on the ides of January to assume as far 
as possible the shapes of various animals^ and run about 
the streets in wild imitation of their voice and action,"^ 
In this custom, moreover^ we trace the evident origin of 
the hobby and the dragon that used at one time to figure 
in our own sports at certain seasons. 

It does not, however, appear that these efforts of the 
ancient fathers of the Church, to substitute fasting for 
feasting, and mortification for merriment, were very 
generally successful. The old customs were too deeply 
rooted in the hearts of the people to be eradicated by 
sermons or synods, and the most they could do was 
to give something of a Christian colour to things that 
were still essentially Pagan. We shall have occasion 
hereafter to observe how much succeeding Popes im- 
proved upon this plan.f 

* Concilium Tolbtanum iv. Canon 10. Isidore tells us that to 
put a stop to these amusements the Church ordered a general fast ; 
*'' Proinde ergo saneti patres, considerantes maximam partem generis 
humani eodem die hujusmodi sacriieglis ac luxuriis insidere, statuerunt 
in universe mundo per omnes ecclesias publicum jejunium.*' Isidori 
Opbra, De Qfficiis Eccles,^ lib. 1., cap. xl. 

f There is a curious passage to this effect in Hospinian. *' Omnes 
enim ilia: superstitiones ethnicae, quas lib. de Festis Ethnicorum in 
Calendis Januar. commemoravimus, et olim hoc die sunt observatoi a 
Christianis, et etiamnum hodie pertinaciter observantur a nobis. 
Discurrunt namque noctu tam senes quam juvenes promiscui sexus 
cantantes pree foribus divitum quibus felicem annum cantando precan- 
tur et optant. Hoc autem quum noctu fiat nemini dubium esse debet 
quin sub hoc prsetextu multa obscsena et turpia perpetrantur simui. 
Eade nocte plurimi mensara varii generis epulis parant et ornant, 
putantes se per totum anni spatiumtale ciborum abundantia habituros. 


. At one time the custom of New Years* gifts prevailed 
amongst all classes in this country, even the sovereigns 
both giving and receiving them^ though of course their 
practice was more generally in the latter way. The 
virgin Queen was more especially noted, like Cassius, for 
having " an itching palm/' that loved to be tickled with 
gold, or gold's worth, come from what quarter it might ^ 
and Nichols ,has given a curious as well as extensive list 
of them,* from which it may be as well to transcribe 
a few items only by way of specimen — *' Money (some- 
times to the amount of twenty pounds) diamonds, pearls, 
petticoats, smocks, garters, fans, pots of preserves, 
marchpanes, and sweet waters. The loyal donors of 
these commodities were archbishops, bishops, peers, 
peeresses, doctors, cooks, and even dustmen, a gentleman 
of the last named occupation having presented her Majesty 
with " two boltes of Cambrick.** The practice may be 
traced back to the time of Henry the Fourth, but the only 
remains now at court are that ** the two chaplains in 
waiting on New Year's Day have each a crown piece 
laid under their plates at dinner/'f 

In Westmoreland and Cumberland a singular trace of 
the olden time is yet found to linger. In these counties 

Alii poculum plenum aqua vel vino in mensa ponunt, quod, ti 
exundet et ultra margines poculi intumescat, fertilitatem ; sin minus 
caritatem ejus anni ominantur ; quam consuetudinem D. Hieronjnmus, 
lib. 18 in Isaiam, indicat veterem fuisse idolatriam apud Ethnicos in 
cunctis urbibus, maxime verd in Egjpto et Alexandria. Totus die, 
per omnes urbes, vicos, et compita, compotationibus, commessationi- 
busque, non solum in publicis, sed etiam privatis sedibus consumiturs 
non sine choreis saltationibusque impudentissimis." Hospmian Db 
Fbstjs Christiangrum, p. 32; folio; Tiguri. 1612. 

• Progresses OP Queen Elizvbbth, p. xxvi. of Preface, vol. 1, 
4to., Lond. 1788. 

f Idem., p. xxviii. 


the first of January is by some odd process converted 
into a saint^ and termed Saint New Year's Day, much, we 
may suppose, upon the same principle that the journey- 
men in other places have their Saint Monday. Early in 
the morning the dregs of the people assemble with 
stangs, — that is, poles, — and baskets, and whatever 
unlucky inhabitant or stranger chances to cross their 
way, he is compelled to do homage to their saint, or 
submit to the penalty which old custom has long sanc- 
tioned in all such cases of disobedience. If the recusant 
be a man, he is mounted astride the pole ; if a woman, 
she is placed in the basket ; and either offender is in this 
state carried upon the shoulders of the merry mob to the 
nearest public -house, where sixpence is exacted as the 
price of liberty. With laudable impartiality the like 
penance is inflicted upon all ranks and conditions, the 
squire or the parson being no more exempted from it 
than their own servants, and in the same spirit of equality 
the revellers will allow of no working on their saint's 
day 3 the rest of the world must be as idle and as jovial 
as themselves.* 

The uncertainty of the day to which some feasts belong, 
the date of their celebration having varied probably with 
time and place, makes it often impossible to assign them 
an appropriate niche in our calendar for discussion. Such 
is the case with the Feast of Fools, a custom of Eastern 
origin,t and one on no account to be confounded with 

* See a grave, prosj account of this custom in the Gbntleman's 
Magazine — Supplement to the jear 1791, vol. Ixi. p. 1169. 

f '^ Yidetur sane ex Episcoporum, vel potius clericorum, lascivia a 
Graecis originem csepisse/* Du Canob, sub voce Kalends. And he 
goes on to give an extract from the eighth Sjrnod, which certainly 
seems to prove the correctness of his assertion. He might however 
have found the fact yet more distinctly stated by Cedrenus, who attri- 
butes to Theophylact, Patriarch of Constantinople in the tenth cen- 
tury, the invention if not exactly of tha Fecist of Fools, at least of 


All Fools* Day, to which so far as mere sound goes it 
bears so great a similarity. It was a favourite festival in 
France at one time^ but more particularly in the capital^ 
at Rheims, and at Dijon ; and was nothing more than 
another form of those mummeries and masqueradings, 
which either grew directly out of the Pagan festivities, 
or were substituted for them by the Christian Church as 
the best way of reconciling its followers to the austerities 
of the new faith. 

It is not a little remarkable that the lower orders of 
the priesthood should have clung to this festival with 
even more fondness than the laity, in defiance of the 
efforts Qf the superior clergy to put it down ; and in- 
deed it would seem in some measure to have been 
peculiar to them, for amongst other names it was also 
called the Feast of Subdeacons.* Nor was the time of 

the similar absurdities from wrhich it sprang. There can be the less doubt 
of this truth, as the poor patriarch was punished for his ingenuit j bj being 
dashed against a wall by his horse which produced haemorrhage, and in 
the course of two years occasioned his death. It is amusing to see how 
craftily Cedrenus insinuates by a side-wind what he was too prudent 
to state in so many words. After having detailed all the enormities of 
Theophylact he concludes by saying ; *' Bwrwc ^« ptoreifutv, Karav- 
rpk<pii rbv j3iov iv rtfi drdKTtag Wcrd^£(7dat, tv rivi rsix^t ri^v 
mapaQakaOfr'utiv QpavaBiiQ^ Koi alfia dvayayutv Sid rov ffrSfiaroQ. 
*Evi Svo d' €TT} voarjXOvofitvog Kai vSkpM wepiw£<rdtv ircXcnyire.*' 
— ** Living in this fashion he ended his life by furious riding, being 
dashed against a certain sea-wall, which caused him to spit blood. After 
two years sickness anasarca supervened, and he died.'* Historiarum 
Compend: a Georgia CedrenOy Tom. ii. p. 639. 

* This fact is recorded by Du Cange ; though it is scarcely possible 
to agree with him in his notion that it was so called from the deacons 
being saturij or saoul, i.e. gorged. His words are " Ejusmodi festivitati 
Festi Hypodiaconorum nomen inditum,non quod revera soli subdia- 
coni has scelestas choreas ducerent, sed qu6d hac jocular! appellatione 
nostri indicare voluerint festi vitatem banc fuisse ebriorem clericorum seu 
diaconorum ; enim evincit id vox Soudiacres^ id est, ad literam, saturi 
diaconi, quasi diaeres saouls.*' See Ducange, sub voce KalbnDvE. 


its celebration more certain^ it being sometimes observed 
on the Circumcision ; sometimes on the Epiphany, or in its 
Octaves;* sometimes on St. Stephen's Day ;t and sometimes 
on the ^Ith of December, % from which it was also called 
the December Liberty. 

There is the same diversity, if we should not rather 
call it confusion^ in the ceremony itself, the various 
accounts being somewhat inconsistent with each other ; 
but the following will perhaps be found upon the whole 
to present a tolerably correct idea of the festival. It is 
only necessary to premise that the Abbot of Fools, here 
spoken of, is by no means to be confounded with the 
Bishop of Fools who was elected upon Innocents' Day.^ 

The abbot being elected at the time above mentioned, 
Te Deum is sung, and he is borne home on the shoulders 
of his companions, the place being especially adorned for 
the purpose, and where due potations are in readiness. At 
his entrance all arise, and the wine being drunk, the abbot, 
or in his absence the praecentor, begins a chaunt, the two 
opposing chorusses gradually encreasing in loudness and 
trying to outscream the other, with running accompani- 
ments of howling, hissing, laughing, mocking, aud clap- 
ping of hands, at the conclusion of which the janitor 
makes proclamation ex officio : 

" De par Mossenhor Labat ^ sos Cosseliers vos fam 
assaber que tot homs lo sequa lay on voura anar*ea quo 

* *' Festum Hypodiaconorum^ quod Tocamus Stultorum, a quibusdam 
perficitur in Circumcisione, a quibusdam verd in Epiphania, vel in ejus 
OctaYls." Bbletus ; De Divin. Offici. Gap. 7*2. 

+ '^ Idem CKremoniale, sub Festo S. Stepheni." Ducanoe — Ka. 


X " Die 17 Decembris conveniunt omnes sclafardi et clericuli ut 
abbatem eligunt.'* Id. 

§ " Ex eodem Cerkmoniali (MS. Eccles. Vivar. an. 1365) Epts- 
oopua stuUuSf qui ab A bbate dislinctus erat, eligebatur in festo S. S. 
Innocentium eodem ritu quo abbas Stultorum." Dvcavg'r^ Kaletidec, 


BUS la pena de talhar lo braye. — " that is " Monsignor the 
Abbot and his Councillors give you to l^now that all men 
must follow him wheresoever he goes, on pain of having 
their breeches cut off."* 

Hereupon the abbot and the rest rush out of the house, 

and parade the city, the former being saluted by all who 

meet him in his progress. This lasts till the eve of the 

Nativity, and during the whole time the abbot wears a 

, costume suitable to the part he is playing. 

From other authors we learn that the excesses went 
far beyond what is here related by Ducange. According 
to such accounts, some of the characters were masked, 
or had their faces bedaubed with paint, either grotesquely 
or so hideously as to excite terror. In this state they 
danced into the choir, singing obscene songs, and the 
deacons and subdeacons took a pleasure in eating pud* 
dings and sausages upon the altar, under the nose of the 
officiating priest -, they played too at cards and dice be- 
fore his face, and placed fragments of old shoes in the holy 
water that he might be annoyed. Mass being over, they 
ran and jumpt, and danced about the church, stripping 
themselves naked, and performing every sort of indecency ; 
and afterwards by way of varying their amusements 
paraded the city in carts, filled with filth, which they 
flung at the crowds about them. From time to time 
these savoury vehicles would stop, to give them an op- 
portunity of exhibiting themselves in lascivious panto- 
mime, accompanied by songs that were not a jot more 
decent. "What they were can not be better indicated than 
by the fact that none but the most licentious of the laity 
could be found to join in them as actors, however much 
they might enjoy the show as lookers on ; and it gives us 

• DucANGB. — Kalenda, p. 1664. I suspect that talhar lo braye — 
literally, to cut off the breeches — is an idiomatic phrase, though I 
can offer nothing certain in regard to it. 


a curious insight into the policy of the priesthood that 
they could thus allow the worst of the rabble to play the 
part of fools in the costume of monks and nuns.* 

The Bishop of Fools, when elected, would seem to have 
had somewhat more of gravity, if not of discretion, in 
his office. Being elected, he was carried by the clerks, 
a bell preceding him to the episcopal mansion, where 
he was placed in a window with his face towards 
the city and bestowed his blessing upon the people. 
Afterwards he celebrated matins, high mass, and vespers, 
in the cathedral, presiding for three days over the whole 
in true pontifical fashion, even the usual costume being 
rigidly observed both by himself and his subordinates. 
The burlesque in this case was all the richer from its 
superior pretensions to gravity, though it is quite clear 
that they both equally belonged to the Feast of Fools, 
which from this would appear to have changed its form 
considerably according to the time and place in which it 
was enacted. 

* ** Les nns etoient masquez^ou avec des visages barbouiIle8,qui faisoi- 
ent peur, ou qui faisoient rire ; les autres en habits de femmes ou de 
pantomimes, tels que sont les ministres du theatre. lis dansoient dans 
le choeur en entrant, et chantoient des chansons obscenes. Les dia- 
cres et les soudiacres prenoient plaisir a manger des boudins et des 
saucices sur Tautel, au nez du pretre c^l^brant ; ils jouoient a ses 
yeux aux cartes et au dez; ils mettoient dans Tencensoir quelques 
morceaux de vieilles savates pour lui faire respirer une mauvaise odeur. 
Apres la messe, chacun couroit, sautoit, et dansoit, par Teglise avec 
tant d'impudence, que quelques uns n*avolent pas honte de se porter k 
toutes sortes dUndecences, et de se depouiller entierement ; ensuite ils 
se faisoient trainer par les rues dans des tomberaux pleins d'ordures, 
o\3l ils prenoient plaisir d'en jetter a la populace qui s^assemblolt autour 
d'eux. lis s'arr^tolent et faisoient de leurs corps des mouvemens et 
des postures lascives, qu'ils accompagnoient de paroles impudiques. 
Les plus libertina d'entre les siculiers se meloient parmi le clerge pour 
faire aussi quelques personnages de foux ens habits ecclesiastiques de 
molnes et de religieuses.^' Memoirs four servir a l'Histoirb de 
LA Fete des Foux, parM. Du Tilliot ; p. 5, 4to. Geneve, 1741. 


EvB OF THE Epipbany — January 5th. It would have 
been strange if the vigil of so ceremonious a day as 
the Epiphany had been without its peculiar observances 
and superstitions, and they were probably numerous 
at one time, although so few fragments have been pre- 
served to us. The two principal customs that we still 
find in connection with this festival belong, the first to 
Herefordshire, the second to Devonshire ; and it is likely 
enough that a. closer familiarity with the habits of the 
rural districts might discover many others. These have 
been dug out of that antiquarian mine, the GenHenuaCs 
Magazine, in which though it can not be denied there is 
much dross, there is also quite enough of Stirling ore to 
repay the trouble of working it. 

'* On the eve of Twelfth Day, at the approach of even- 
ing, the farmers, their friends, servants, &c. all assemble, 
and near six o'clock all walk together to a field where 
wheat is growing. The highest part of the ground is 
always chosen, where twelve small fires and one large 
one are lighted up. The attendants, headed by the master 
of the family, pledge the company in old cyder, which 
circulates freely on these occasions. A circle is formed 
round the large fire, when a general shout and hallooing 
takes place, which you hear answered from all the villages 
and fields near ; as I have myself counted fifty or sixty 
fires burning at the same time, which are generally placed 
oti some eminence. This being finished, the company all 
return to the house, where the good housewife and her 
maids are preparing a good supper, which on this occasion 
is very plentiful. A large cake is always provided with 
a hole in the middle. After supper the company all 
attend the bailiff (or head of the oxen) to the wain-house, 
where the following particulars are observed 5 the master 
at the head of his friends fills the cup (generally strong 
ale) and stands opposite the first or finest of the oxen ; 


(fourteen of which I have often seen tied up in their stalls 
together ^ he then pledges him in a curious toast ; the 
company then follow his example with all the other oxen, 
addressing each by their name. This being over, the large 
cake is produced with much ceremony, and put on the horn 
of the first ox, through the hole in the cake 5 he is then 
tickled to make him toss his head ; if he throws the cake 
behind, it is the mistress* perquisite ; if before, (in what is 
termed the boost/*) the ba\liff claims this prize. This 
ended, the company all return to the house, the doors of 
which are in the meantime locked, and not opened till 
some joyous songs are sung. On entering, a scene of 
mirth and jollity commences, and reigns through the 
house till a late, or rather an early hour the next morning. 
Cards are introduced and the merry tale goes round.^f 

This in Herefordshire is called wassailing ; and the 
fires, as I shall have occasion to show hereafter, are 
nothing else than the antient emblematic worship of the 
sun, the custom remaining long after the object of it has 
been very generally forgotten. In the same way the 
pledging of the animals in ale or cyder with strange 
toasts, and the emptying the cups to each other, are 
plainly enough borrowed from the libations of the ancients 
to their rural deities 5 and we find the same custom at 
one time prevailed among the Danes, t 

* B008Y,— derived from the AtiglO'SaKonBosg fBosig^ or Bosih, — pro- 
perly speaking signifies a staU for cows or oxen ; but in the northern 
counties, to which the use of the word is now confined, it is more gene- 
rally applied to the upper part of the stall where the fodder lies. 
Such is its limited meaning in the text above, where it is spelt in a 
somewhat uncommon fashion ; I have generally found it written and 
pronounced, boose. 

t Gentleman's Magazine, for February, 1791, vol. Ixi. p. IIG. 

:|: " Mox Niordi et Frejae memoria poculis recolebatur, annua ut 
ipsis contingeret felicitas, frugumque et reliquse annonas uberrimus 
proventus." Olai Wormii Monumbnta Danica, lib. i. p. 28. 


The apple trees also come in for their share of honour, 

as might naturally be expected in a county where cyder 

was in so much request. In some parts of Devonshire 

it is the custom for the people '^ to go after supper into 

the orchard, with a large milk-pail full of cyder having 

roasted apples pressed into it. Out of this each person 

in company takes what is called a clayen cup — ^i.e. an 

earthenware cup, full of liquor, and standing under each 

of the more fruitful apple trees, passing by those that are 

not good bearers, he addresses it in the following words : 

Health to thee, 

Good apple tree ! 

Well to bear, pocket-fulls, hat-fuIlB, 

Peck-fulls, bushel bag fulls. 

And then drinking up part of the contents, he throws 
the rest with the fragments of the roasted apple at the 
tree. — At each cup the company set up a shout.''* 

In Devonshire a similar custom prevailed, of which the 
following account is given by another correspondent of 
the bland Sylvanus Urban, — " On the eve of the Epiphany, 
the farmer, attended by his workmen, with a large pitcher 
of cyder, goes to the orchard, and there encircling one of 
the best among the trees they drink the following toast 
three several times : 

Here*s to thee, 
Old apple tree ! 
Whence thou mayst bud, and whence thou mayst blow ! 
And whence thou mayst bear apples enow ! 

Hats full, caps full ! 
Bushel — bushel — sacks full ! 
And my pockets full too. 
Huzza !"t 

After this they return to the house, where they find the 

• Brand's Popular Antiquities, vol. 1, p. 19. 
t Idem : for May, p. '103. 


doors barred^ as I have just described in Herefordshire ; 
only here their admittance is made contingent upon their 
guessing what is on the spit^ " which is generally some 
nice little thing difficult to be hit on, and is the reward of 
him who first names it."* Mrs. Bray, however, when 
speaking of the same custom, *' wears her rue with a 
difference,'* as poor Ophelia phrases it. According to her, 
they throw " some of the cyder about the roots of the 
trees, placing bits of the toast on the branches 3 and then 
forming themselves into a ring, they like the bards of old 
set up their voices and sing a song."f 

Twelfth-Day; Epiphany; January 6th. — This is called 
Twelfth Day because, being the twelfth from the Nativity, 
it is that on which the Magi came out of Persia and passed 
through Arabia into Bethlehem^ — rather a round-about 
way it must be owned — to offer homage to the infant in 
the manger. Collier, however, has given us one of Alfred's 
laws, which seems to point at another reason for this appel- 
lation. He says, "I shall mention one law with relation to 
holydays, by virtue of which the twelve days after the 
Nativity of our Saviour are made holydays.'^ § There is 
certainly nothing improbable in the idea that it might 
thus be named as being the twelfth and finishing day of 
the festivals. 

In popular language these Magi are called the Three 
Kings of Cologne, the first of them being named Melchior, 

* Idem : Idem. 

i< Description of thb Part of Devonshire bordering on the 
Tamar and the Tavry. By Mrs. Bray^ 8vo. London, 1836. 

X ** Venerunt itaque originaliter ex Persia ; sed in hoc itinere tran- 
sierunt per Arabiam ; nam a Persia ad Judeeam via directa est per 
medium Mesopotamiac ; et dein transmittendo Euphratem juxta Bir 
per Arabiae partem transeundum erat ad Judaeam.'* Hyde; Historia 
Rbligionis Veterum Persarum, p. 376. 4to. Oxonii. 1700. 

§ Collier's Ecclesiastical History of Britain ; vol. i. — 
Book iii. Cent. ix. p. 163. 


an aged man with a long beard^ who offered gold to our 
Saviour^ as to a king in testimony of his regality ; the 
second, Jasper, a beardless youth, who offered frankin- 
cense, as unto a God, in acknowledgement of his divinity ^ 
the third, Balthazar, a black, or Moor, with a large spread- 
ing beard, who offered myrrh as to a man, that was ready 
or fit for his sepulchre, thereby signifying his humanity/** 
Their skulls, or what is said to be their skulls, are pre- 
served as reliques at Cologne. 

Setting aside this idle legend, with the names that are 
evidently of monkish origin, let us inquire who the Magi 
really were, and to what country they belonged. 

Without entering into a disquisition, that must of 
necessity be tedious, on the etymology of the word, it 
will be sufficient to observe that by the concurrent testi- 
mony of all ancient writers the Magi were Persians,! and 
that in the language of their country neither magia nor 
magus had the slightest reference to the black art as we 
now understand it. In that tongue the word Magus meant 

* Fbsta Anolo-Romana, p. 7,—12mo. London, 1677* 
t See Hyde; (HistoriaRelioionis Vetbrum Persarum, cap. 31, 
p. 376), who gives a multitude of authorities for the fact But at the 
same time it must not be concealed, that Origen (Origin bs contra 
Celsum), and some others, maintained that the Magi were actual 
necromancers and cultivated an acquaintance with the devil. Hilde- 
brand (Db Dzebus Fbstis ; p. 39), is very diffuse upon this subject. 
He says, ** Magi apud Persas fuere, 1. Theologi^ et ut plurimum sacer- 
dotes Persici et sacrorum antistites. 2. ConsiUariiy et tan to looo in 
aulis regum, ut nemini in Persia regem esse licuerit, quern non magi 
informassent, teste Cicer. de Divinat. Fuerunt, iii ; Medici et Physid; 
et denique Philosophi, praesertim MathemaHci, Aatronomif et Geneth- 
Had (casters of nativities). Hinc versiculi : 

Ille penes Persas magus est, qui sidera novit, 
Quique scit herbarum vires cultumque Deorum. 
lidem quoque Magi fuerunt in Persia cum Brachmanmhut in India, 
cum Druidihw Gallorum, et cum Philosophia GrKcorum. 


a philosopher and a priest, or at all events a philosopher 
who was particularly addicted to the study of religion ; 
and who besides might be^ — if he was not for the most 
part — a royal counsellor, a physician^ an astrologer, and 
a mathematician. In fact they were the same in Persia, 
that the Brahmins were in India, the Druids amongst the 
Gauls, and the Philosophers amongst the Greeks."^ We 
shall therefore the less wonder if we find strong reason 
for believing that Zoroaster was of their number, and 
that Pythagoras learnt his philosophy from them. 

It was reckoned a high honour even for kings and 
princes to belong to this wise and influential bodyj so 
much so indeed that even Darius, the son of Hystaspes, 
took care to have it engraved upon bis monument that 
he was a '' magicorum doctor," — an archimage or arch 
magician. Of these magicians, magi, or sophys, there were 
three classes 3 the first, which was the most learned, 
neither ate nor killed animals ^ the second ate of them, 
but never killed any of the tame kind ) the third devoured 
every thing they could lay their hands upon.f 

* ** Penarum lingua Magua est, qui nostra sacerdos."** Apulbii 
Apologia, p. 446, 4to. Parisiis,^ 1688. Here we have the priest!/ 
office distinctly assumed, while in Philo Judaeus we find sufficient 
testimony to the philosophical pursuits of the Magi — 'Ev HkpfraiQ fiiv 
t6 "Mdyiov, ol rd (pvffitjQ tgya dtfptvvdltfiivoi irphg iiriyviamv aXi|- 
BeiaSt cad' i^(ri;%iai/ rdc 9dag dpiraQ rpavatrkpaiQ ifi^dffiaiv iepo- 
(pavrSvTai rs cat Upo^avTovtriv. Philo Jud^i Opbra. — Liber 
QfUsquis Firtuti Studeiy p. 456, Tom. ii. folio, Londini, 1742. 

+ " Hapd ye fikv toTq UipffaiCf oi vepl tq Buov ifopol, Kai r«ra 
OepdirovTiCt May 01 fikv irpoaayoptvovrai, thto ydp ^17X01 Kara ri^v 
kfirix^piov SuiXiKTOv 6 "MdyoQ. ^vna dk fisya xai ffspdfffiiov yivoc 
TOVTo trapd HkptraiQ vevdfmyrai, iatrre Kai Aapeiov top 'Yerdvirov 
kwiypdyjjai rtf fAvrjfjiaTi irpbg rdig aWoic, bn Kai fiayiieCiv ykvoiro 
it^dtyKaXog, AtriprivTo dt oifTOi etg yBvri rpia, iSg ^riai ^viMpovXog 
(^EvPovXoq) 8?rep rtiv tov "MiOpa iffropLav iv ttoXXoic PifiXtoig 


It is difficult to understand, upon mere human grounds, 
why the Persian Magi, who had a distinct faith of their 
own should have travelled so far as Bethlehem to worship 
the future founder of a yet unexistent religion. Two 
circumstances however may help to throw a light upon 
this difficulty, and both of them so singular in themselves 
as to be well worthy of consideration. 

There is a prophecy of Zoroaster, and which had even 
reached the ancient Irish, wherein we find him predicting 
in terms, not to be mistaken, the future birth of a Saviour ~ 
and its announcement by a star. '* He" says Abul-Pha- 
rajius, speaking of Zoroaster, or Zeradusht^f "taught 
the Persians the manifestation of the Lord Christ, com- 
manding that they should bring him gifts ; and revealed 
to them that it would happen in the latter time that a vir- 
gin would conceive without contact with a man^ and that 
when her child was born a star would appear and shine by 

dpaypdtj/aQ • &v ol irpwTOi cat Xoytwraroc, ovr* IffOlovuiv ifixj/yxov, 
ovTt ipovsvovffiv, kfjifikvovffi dk ry iraXalg. t&v Z^tov dwoxv ' ^'^ ^* 
diVT€poi xpSivrai fikv, oh fikproi ratv rffitpiov X,iiibiv rt KTfivovoiv . 
oi)d* 01 Tplroi bfJtoLioQ toXq dWoiQ ItpaTTTOvrai Tiavrutv.** — ^*' Amongst 
the Persians, those who are wise in divine matters, and serve the Deity, 
are called Magi ; for such is the meaning of Magus in the language of 
the country. So highly is this class esteemed by the Persians that 
even Darius, the son of Hystaspes took care among other things to have 
it inscribed upon his monument that he had been a doctor of Magic. 
These Magi were divided into three kinds, as Symbulus (Eubulus) 
says, who wrote the history of Mithra in many books ; of whom the 
first and most learned neither ate of animals, nor killed them, but per- 
sisted in the old abstinence from such food ; the second class ate of 
them, but did not kill tame animals ; the third class, like the rest of 
the people, laid their hands upon every thing." Porphyrins De 
Abstinent : ab Esu Animalium, p. 348, 4to. Trajecti ad Rhenum. 
+ It has been a matter of much dispute whether these two names 
were identical, and if so, whether there was not more than one Zo- 
roaster or Zeradusht. The discussion however, though highly interest- 
ing, would lead us much too far for the object now in view. 


day^ in the midst of which would he seen the figure of a 
virgin. But you, my children, will see its rising before 
all the nations. When, therefore ye shall behold it, go 
whither the star shall guide ye, and adore the child, and 
offer up to him your gifts, seeing^ that he is the Word, 
which has created the Heavens."* 

The second circumstance alluded to, and scarcely of less 
importance in the solution of this apparent difficulty, now 
remains to be explained. The Magi had long been accus- 
tomed to pay their annual visits to Bethlehem for the pur- 
pose of worshipping in the temple of Adonis on the 24th 
of December, at which time similar religious rites were 
celebrated throughout all the Mithratic caves of Persia 
in honour of the birth of their God lao, who was supposed 
to have been born in a cave on the 25th of December, to have 
been put to death, and to have risen on the 25th of March. t 
Perhaps too we miss the spirit of the sacred text by taking 
it in too literal a sense. When it is said that the star went 
before the Magi, it is not to be understood that the light 
actually preceded them as the pillar of fire went before 
the Israelites. Any star would naturally seem to be moving 
before those who followed in its direction ; and the 
Magi, who were astrologers even more than they were 

* '* Hie Persas docuit de manifestatione Domini Christi, jubens eos 
illi dona afferre ; indicavitque futurum ut ultimis temporibus coucipe- 
ret virgo fsetum absque contactu viri, cumque nasceretur apparituram 
stellam, quae interdiu luceret, et in cujus medio conspiceretur figura 
puellse Tirginis. "Yos autem, o filii mei, ante omnes gentes ortum 
ejus percepturi estis ; cum ergo videritis stellam, abeuntes qu5 vos 
[ilia] dirigat, istum adorate, ofTerentes ipsi munera vestra ; est siqui- 
dem ille verbum quod caelum condidit." Grbookii Abul-Pharajii 
HiSTORiA Dynastiarum, p. 54, 4to. Oxon. 1663. The above is 
quoted from Pocock's Latin version of the Arabic. 

f Higgin*s Anacalypsis, y. ii. p. 99. Admitting the facts to be as 
stated by this author, it by no means follows that we are to agree with 
him in bis inferences. 

VOL. I. C 


astroDomers, had read in his star'* the birth of Christ as 
foretold in the prophecy of Zoroaster. 

Other events too connected with the same fact have 
in like manner heen prefigured by the circumstances 
of Mithratic history. Thus we have Chrishna conveyed 
over the Yamuna by Vasudeva in a miraculous escape 
from his uncle Cansa^ the Herod of Hindoo Scripture 
history,t and many more might be enumerated would my 
limits admit of them. Of course the interpretation of 
these facts has varied, and ever must vary, according to 
the habits of the interpreters -, and if by some they have 
been used as weapons of attack upon Christianity, by 
others they have been employed both as historical and in- 
ferential proofs of its truth, — so uncertain is human rea- 
son when applied to things celestial. 

I have hitherto spoken of the Magi as being only three 
in number, and such is the generally received belief; but 
some authors have said that there were thirteen of them.]: 

* Saint Matthew expressly says his. 

t See MooR*s Hindoo Pantheon ; plate 58. A long account also 
is given of this Hindoo Herod in Maurice's Indian Sceptic, (p. 102.) 
He had been warned by a mysterious voice on the marriage of his 
sister, Devaci, that her eighth son would be his destroyer, whereupon 
he seized her by the hair, and would have cut off her head, had not 
her husband, Yasudeva, promised to give up to him all the children 
she might bring forth. Six he slew; the seventh, Bama, escaped ; 
and when for the eighth time Devaci became pregnant her beaufy 
shone forth so resplendently, that it brightened her husband's face 
and illuminated the walls of her chamber. At length she brought forth 
a child, and the eyes of the parents being open for the moment they 
knew it was God himself. Again their eyes were reduced to a mortal 
state, when they saw only a human infant before them, but a divine 
voice directed Vasudeva to fly and secrete the infant. Cansa being thus 
baffled, ordered *' all the young children throughout his kingdom to be 
slain.** In this story we find not only the exact counterpart of Herod, 
but the prototype also of Saturn devouring his children lest any one 
of them should destroy him. 

:J: Bar Babli'L, as quoted by Hyde in his Hist, Rel. Vet. Pkrb. 
p. 377. 


Their names too have been variously given, but the de- 
tails are hardly worth repeating :♦ and even the opinion 
that they were Persians, though it seems the most credi- 
ble, has met with some dissentients. One writer will 
have it that they were Jews, or Jewish legates rather, re- 
siding at the timein Persia or Syria ^t while the Armenian 
Haitho,! who lived in the fifth century, has left it on 
record, that they were the rulers of three provinces in 
Tartary, who chose to call themselves kings, and whose 
kinsmen are Christians at the present day amongst a peo- 
ple of heathens. § 

* Idem. Idem. 

f " Cum enim inde ab ultima creditum semper sit state hos Magos 
philosophos fuisse, ex Persia, sive, quod aliis placuit, Arabia oriundos 
ae a vero Dei cultu alienos, non dubitavit celeberrimus vir aliam com- 
plecti sententiam, ac Magos istos pro Judseis, aut Judaeorum potius in 
Persia aut Syria commorantium legatis." De Magis Bethlbhbmum, 
Stella Duce, Profkctis. A Jac, Alb, Hanselmanno^ p. 2, 4to. 
Vitembergiae. 1716. 

t It seems strange that so sound a scholar as Hyde sbould have run 
into the mistake of calling Haitho, an Armenian king — Armeniae rex — 
(p. 376). In the preface to the very work from which Hyde quotes, 
Salconi expressly says that he was a monk and a relation of the king 
of Armenia. *' H« sunt historisB partium Orientis a religiose yiio,fratre 
Haythono, Domino Curchi, consanguineo Regis Armeniee, compilatae.'* 
From this same authority we learn that the work was originally taken 
down in French by Salconi, from the dictation of Brother Haytho, and 
subsequently translated by the former into Latin. In a yet earlier edition 
of the work — 1529, — he is styled a brother of the Premonstratensian 
order, and the title of the work runs somewhat differently, being Libbr 
HisTORiARUM Partium Orikntis, sive PASSAGruM Terr^ SANCTiB ; 
instead of tiistoria Orientalis, qua eadem et de Tartaris insoribitnr. 

§ *' In regno Tarsse sunt tres provincise, quarum dominatores se reges 
faciunt appellarl Homines illius patriae nominanturt/ot/our; semper 
idola coluerunt et adhuc colunt omnes praeter decem cognationes illo- 
rum regum, qui per demonstrationem stellce venerunt adorare nativi- 
tatem in Bethlehem Judae. Et adhuc multi magni et nobiles invent, 
untur inter Tartaros de cognatione ilia qui tenent firmiter fidemChristi.^' 

c ^ 


This day was also called the Epiphany,* that is to say the 
manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles ; and by some writers, 
though more rarely, the Theophany,! or manifestation of the 
Deity. Lastly, it was termed Bbthania, from a word 
compounded of Hebrew and Greek, namely Beth, a 
" house," and ^aivnv to show or to appear, " because he 
appeared in the house by the transformation of wine and 
water" — a singular derivation, but which is here given on 
the authority of Belethus.J 

It may easily be imagined that so important a day in 
the Christian calendar would not be without its full share 
of ceremonies, either grave or farcical. These have gone 
through the usual routine -, from pagan rites they have 
become christian solemnities, and from these again they 
have degenerated into popular customs, which have 

Haithoni Armeni Historia Orientalis. — Cap. ii. p. 3. I should 
almost have doubted under all the circum stances whether by Tarsa 
Haitho really meant Tartary, had it not been for his subsequent de- 
scription of its situation. 

* From the Greek km6dvna a rising as of the sun, the appear- 
ance of a God. But in the Festa Anglo- Komana, another reason is 
assigned, and another appellation given : *^ Or His so called from the 
appearance of the Holy Ghost in the shape of a dove at his baptism 
thirty years after, for this sixth of January was the day of our Savi- 
our's baptism, and is celebrated as such by the Church, and therefore 
'tis termed by Alcas Cyriacus, an Arabick manuscript of astronomical 
tables in the archbishop's archives in the library of Oxford, the Feast 
of Epiphanie or Bbnbdiction of Watkrs. On this day also is com- 
memorated the first miracle performed by our Saviour at the wedding 
in Cana of Galilee, where he turned water into wine.*' Festa Anglo. 
RoMANA, p. 9, 12mo. London, 1678. 

f From the Greek Bio^ a God, and ^aivnv to show or to appear. 

X ^* Tertia denique nominata est Bethania nomine conflato ab Hse- 
breo et Graeco ; videlicet a Beth, quod domus est, quae item alio 
anno eodem die contingit ; apparuit n in domo per transformationem 
aquae in vinum." Explicatio Divin. Ojfficior. a Beletho, cap. 73, p. 


grown fainter and fainter from year to year^ and in all 
probability will be one day extinguished. Of those that 
still remain, the drawing for king and queen is the most 
important. In the olden time it was thus managed in our 
own country, and the same custoqn prevailed throughout 
the continent, with more or less variation in the details. — 
" After tea a cake is produced, and two bowls containing 
the fortunate chances for the different sexes. The host 
fills up the tickets, and the whole company, except the 
king and queen, are to be ministers of state, maids of 
honour, or ladies of the bed-chamber. Often the host and 
hostess, more by design perhaps than accident become the 
king and queen. According to Twelfth-Day law, each 
party is to support his character till midnight.'** There 
was however at one time another mode of electing their 
Twelfth Night Majesties, of which this seems to be only 
a corruption. The cake was made full of plums^abean 
and a pe a being mixed up amongst them 5 whoever upon 
the (iivision of it g ot the bean, he was ack n owledged for 
king ; whoever got the pea, she was to be queen. Nothing 
can be more graphic than Herrick's poetical account of 
this ceremony. 

'* TwELPE Night, or King and Queene. 

Now, now the mirth comes 

With the cake full of plums. 
Where Beane^s the king of the sport here ; 

Besides we must know 

The Pea also 
Must re veil as Queene in the court here. 

Begin then to chuse, 

(This night as ye use,) 
Who shall for the present delight here 

Be a king by the lot 

And who shall not 
Be Twelve-day Queene for the night here. 


• Brandy vol. i. p. 12. 


Which knowne let us make 

Joy-sops with the cake ; 
And let not a man then be seen here, 

Who unurg'd will not drinke 

To the base from the brink 
A health to the king and the queene here. 

Next crowne the bowie full 

With gentle lamb's-wooll ; 
Adde sugar, nutmeg, and ginger. 

With store of ale too ; 

And thus je must doe 
To make the wassaile a swinger. 

Give then to the king 

And Queene wassailing ; 
And though with ale ye be whet here ; 

Yet part ye from hence 

As free from offence 
As when ye innocent met here." * 

This has generally been supposed to be in honour of 
the Three Kings of Cologne ; but in all probability owes 
its origin to the Greek and lloman custom of casting lots 
at their banquets, t for who should be the rex convivii, or, 
as Horace calls him, the arbiter bibendi. The lucky cast 
was termed Venus or Basilicus, and whoever threw it, gave 

* Hbrrick's Hespbridbs, p. 376, 8yo. London, 1648. See also 
Speeches to the Queen at Sudley^ p. 8 — Nichol's Proorbsses of 
Queen Elizabeth, sig. b. 3. 

f This however was not always the case ; sometimes the sympoai- 
archf or king, as he was also termed of the compotation, was elected 
solely by imposition of a coronet of flowers upon his head. Both customs 
are fully explained by Rosinus, or as I should rather call him Roszfeld, 
for he was a native of Eisenach, in Germany, and has therefore better 
claims to the last appellation—^' Jam et hoc notandum in c5vi\iis 
moris fuisse, ut talis astragalisve sorte missis Sympoaiarcha, quem alii 
Regbm, alii magistrum convivii, Varro Modimperatorem appellat, du- 
ceretur. Nonnunquam etiam sola coroUse impositione diceretur/' 
Jiosini Antiquitates JRomaniSy lib. v. cap. xxx. Those who wish for 
more minute information upon this topic should consult the Sympo- 
siAcoN of Plutarch, lib. i. QuaBstio quarta. 


laws for the night to his competitors. The unlucky throw 
was called canicula and chins* 

In some parts of France the Bean-King — ^le Roi de la 
Feve — is elected hy another process. A child is placed 
under a table where he can see nothings and the master of 
the feast holding up a piece of cake demands^ whose por- 
tion it is to be. The child replies according to his own 
fancy^ and this game continues* till the piecci which con- 
tains the bean^ has been allotted.f A whole court is thus 
formed^ the fool not being forgotten ; and every time 
either of their majesties is seen to drink, the company are 
bound to cry out, under pain of a forfeit, " the king (or the 
queen) drinks.'* f 

There is little more to be said of this day except that 

* " Talorum yero canis damnosus ; senio medius et anceps, siquidem 
modo lucra, nonnunquam damnum afferebat : is vero quatemarium 
numerum facit, chius vero temarium. Venus autem, quae lummum 
eontinet numerum, multum lucri affert ; semperque felici exitu ludum 
terminavit." Alexander ab Albxandro — Geniales DieSt lib. iii. 
cap. xxi. p. 791. 

+ *' Celui, qui est le maistre du banquet, a un grand gasteau, dani 
lequel y a une febue cacbee, — gasteau, dy je, que Ton coupe en autant 
de parts qu'ii y a de gens conviez au festin. Cela fait en met un petit 
enfant sous la table, lequel le maistre interroge sous ce nom de Phebe, 
comme si ce fut un qui en V innocence de son ange representast une 
fonne d'oracle d'Apollon. A c^t interrogatoire Tenfant respond d'un 
mot h&tinf Domine ; sur cela le maistre Tad jure de dire a qui il dis- 
tribuera la portion du gasteau qu'il tient en sa main ; Tenfant le 
nomme ainsi qu'il luy tombe en la pens^e, sans acception de la dignite 
des personnes, jusques a ce que la part est donnee H celujr ou est la 
febue, et par ce moyen il est repute Roy de la compagnie, ancores 
qu'il fust le moindre. Qu*il n*y ait en ceci beaucoup de Tancien pa. 
ganisme, je n'en fais doute. Ce que nous representons ce jous 1^ est 
le feste des Satumales que Pon celebroit dedans Roqie sur la fin du 
mois de Decembre et coinmencement de Janvier." Lbs Rbchbrches 
DE LA France D*EsTiENNE Pasquibr, livre iv. cbap. ix. p. 375. 

J DiCTioNAiRB CoMiQUB, par P. J. Lbroux, tom. ii. p. 431, Roi de 
la Feve. 


it is with many the end of Christoias, though amongst the 
lower classes the festival is generally considered not to 
terminate till Candlemas. Still it would seem that these 
twelve days, — the real Christmas according to ecclesiastical 
computation, — ^had something in them peculiarly sacred in 
the estimation of the vulgar, for they were supposed, if 
rightly observed, to prefigure the weather for the rest of 
the year.* 

St. Distaff's Day ; Rock Day — January 7th. St. 
Distaff is nothing more than a jocular saint of the people's 
creation, the rock being a distaff that is held in the hand, 
from which the wool is spun by twirling a ball below. 
It would appear from Herrick's little poem on the subject 
that the men now amused themselves with burning the 
flax and tow of the women, who in requital dashed pails 
of water over them. 

Saint Distaff's Day — or the Morrow after Twelfth 


Partly vorke and partly play, 

Ye must on St. DistaiTs Day ; 

From the plough some free your teame, 

Then come home and fother them. 

If the maids a spinning goe, 

Bume the flax and fire the tow ; 


Bring in pailes of water then. 

Let the maids bewash the men. 

Give St. Distaff all the right 

Then bid Christmas sport good night ; 

And next morrow every one 

To his own vocation.'* + 

• •' Others observe the twelve days of Christmas, to foreshew the 
weather in all the twelve succeding moneths respectively." Naturb's 
SECRRTSjby Thomas Willaford^ p. 145. London, 1658. 

f HbRiiick's HssPERiDES.p. 374. I have omitted two lines of the 
song, as being somewhat two coarse for modern refinement. 


Plough Monday ; the first Monday after Twelfth Night 
— ^This day is more peculiarly the ploughman's holyday, 
for though Tusser says : 

**• Plough Monday next^ after that Twelfthtide is past, 
Bids out with the plough, the worst husband is last,"* 

yet it is plain from the custom of the Stot Plough,-^ White 
PloughyX or Fond Plough, i.e. Fool Plough, that the days of 
merry-making are not yet over. It belongs to the olden 
times of papal supremacy, and is incidentally noticed by 
John Bale in his never-ending catalogue of the sins per- 
taining to Catholicism. Never did crusader belabour 
paynim with more right good will than does our stout 
Bishop of Ossory belabour the papists, his language being 
always garnished with the choicest flowers of Billingsgate, 
and indeed it may be said with an energy beyond Billings- 
gate. § 

« FiVB Hundred Points op Husbandry. 

t A Stot signifies a yofung bullock or steer. See Grose^s Provin- 
cial Glossary. 

X It was called the White Plough " because the gallant young men 
that compose it appear to be dressed in their shirts, (without coat or 
waistcoat) upon which great numbers of ribbons, folded into roses, are 
loosely stitched on. It appears to be a very airy habit at this cold 
season, but they have on warm waistcoats under it." See Brand, vol. 
i. p. 280. We have an Instance of this name in the Extracts from 
THE Churchwarden's Accompts qf Heybridge. " Item, receyved 

of the gadryng of the white plowe £0 Is. 3d. Nichol's 

Illustrations op Antibmt Manners, &c., p. 169. At page 240 
we have a similar item, upon which the editor observes, — " Plow- 
gathering ; but why this was applied to the use of the church I can 
not say. There is a custom in this neighbourhood" (Wigtoft, Lin- 
colnshire) *'of the ploughmen parading on Plow-Monday ; but what 
little they collect is applied wholly to feasting themselves." 

§ The proofs of this assertion are somewhat too'coarse for quotation, 
but they are to be found in all his pamphlets, and they are pretty 
numerous, being for the most part published under the assumed name 
of John Harryson, but sometimes under that of Henrye Stalbrydge. 



In speaking of the ceremonies appertaining to this day^ 
it must be recollected that they varied much according to 
the time and place in which they were enacted. Some- 
times the sword dance formed a part of them, and the 
whole formed a sort of character- pageants, the dancers in 
strange attire dragging a plough, preceded by music, and 
accompanied by the Bessy *' in the grotesque habit of an 
old woman, and the fool almost covered with skins, a hairy 
cap on, and the tail of some animal hanging from his 
back. The office of one of these characters is to go 
about rattling a box amongst the spectators of the dance, 
in which he receives their little donations."* 

The passage alluded to in the text, as showing the popish origin of 
Plough Monday, is in a pamphlet with the odd title of Yet a course 
at the Romyahefoxe^ A Dysclosynge or opening of the Manne of 
synne S^c. It is as follows, — ** Than ought my Lorde,** (Bonner, 
bishop of London) *' also to suffre the same selfe ponnyshment for not 
goynge abought with saynt Nycolas' clarkes, for not hallowynge pel- 
grimes to Hierusalem and Rome, for not senamge the plowghea upd 
plowgh mondaye^ for not rostynge egges in the palme ashes fyre, and for 
not syngynge Gaudeamus in the worshypp of hoyle Thomas Becket, 
with such other lyke, which were sumtyme more laudable ceremonyes, 
than eyther saturdaye processyon or yet holye-water-making upon the 
son day e, p. 28 ^ 12mo. Zurich, 1543, the x daye of Decebre, These 
processioninga seem particularly to have excited the wrath of Bale. 
In another part of the same work (p. 21.) he says, ^' he hath not gone 
processyon upon Saturdayea at even-song, a very haynous offence, and 
worthy to be judged no lesse than hygh treason agaynst your holye 
father, Agapitus, popett of Rome, whyche fyrst dreamed it out, and 
enacted it for a laudyble ceremonye of your whoryshe churche, for 
Christ knoweth it not. But I marvele sore that ye observe yt upon 
Saturdayes at nyght at evensonge» he comaundynge yt to be observed 
upon the sondayes in the momynge betwixt holie-water*makynge and 
hygh masse." — There were two popes of the name of Agapitus ; one, 
a Roman by birth, who was elected to the papal chair in 535 ; and a 
second, who arrived at the same dignity in 946. It is to the first of 
these that Bale alludes 

« Brand's Popular Antiquities, vol. i.— p. 278. 


In Yorkshire, *' the principal characters in this farce 
are the conductors of the plough, the plough driver with 
a blown bladder at the end of a stick by way of whip, the 
fiddler, a huge clown in female attire, and the commander- 
in-chief Captain Cauf-Tail, dressed out with a cockade and 
a genuine calf s tail, fantastically crossed with various 
coloured ribbands. This whimsical hero is also an orator 
and a dancer, and is ably supported by the manual wit of 
the plough driver who applies the bladder with great and 
sounding effect to the heads and shoulders of his team,*'* 
who are ploughmen harnessed in the place of horses or 

In some places the ceremony was of a much more simple 
nature. A number of men, — often as many as twenty — 
would be harnessed to a plough and draw it about before 
the houses and cottages, when ifthey received the expected 
gift they would cry out, " largess" and go on again ; but if 
refused at any dwelling they would drive their plough 
through the pavement and raise up the ground in front of 
it.t But in other parts women were harnessed to the 
plough and the ceremony took place on Ash Wednesday, 
when it had a very different meaning, though it doubtless 
had the same origin. The maidens selected for the 

* CosTUMB OF YoRKSHiRK, — Plate xi, p. 29. 4to. London, 1814. 
Thia writer says that the Fool Plough is better known in Yorkshire, 
under the name of Plough Stots. This may be ; but when he would 
derive the word Stott from the German Stutzh, a prop, he is guilty 
of an absurdity too manifest to need refutation. 

f See Hutchinson's History op Northumberland, vol. ii. p. 18, 
— Appendix. But in Derbyshire there was yet another variety of the 
custom, as recorded by Doctor Samuel Pegge, under the fictitious 
name of T. Row, in the Gentleman's Magazine for December, 1762, p. 
568, vol. xxxii. " On this day the young men yoke themselves and 
draw a plough about with music ; and one or two persons in antic 
dresses, like Jack Puddings, go from house to house, to gather money 
to drink ; if you refuse them they plough up your dunghill. We call 
them here the Plough-bullocks, "—'Sote, On the Christmas Festitals. 


purpose were such as were supposed to have addicted them- 
selves too much to dancing throughout the year, and in this 
guise they were driven into the nearest piece of water, a 
piper playing all the time as he sat upon the plough. 
fioemusAubanus, who records this Franconian mode of 
treating the women, is much puzzled to account for it, ex- 
cept it be that the fair transgressors submitted voluntarily 
to be thus harnessed and ducked, by way of expiating 
their sins in having been too fond of holy-day making 
contrary to the express • inhibitions of the church.* 
Another writer tells much the same story with the addi- 
tion of a whip being used by the driver of this female 
team, while a man follows the plough with antic ges- 
tures but grave face, and sows the furrows with sand or 


With these broader scenes our ancestors contrived to 
slip in something of a moral, much as some writers of 
comedy contrive to season five acts of intrigue with a mo- 
ral inference at the end. Well and wisely discourses the 
author of Tusser Redivivus upon this subject. — "After 
Christmas (which formerly during the Twelve Days was 
a time of very little work) every gentleman feasted the 

* " In die cinerum minim est quod in plerisque locis agitur. Vir- 
gines, quotquot per annum choream frequentaverunt, a juvenibus 
congregantur, et aratro pro equis advectae (qj. ac^ecta f) cum tibicine, 
qui super illud modulans sedet, in fluvium aut laeum trahuntur. Id 
quare fiat non plane video, nisi cogitem eas per hoc expiare velle qu6d 
festis diebus contra ecclesise prscceptum a levitate sua non abstinuerint." 
Orbis Tbrrarum £pitom]i, lib. iii. cap. xv. p. 237* 
f ** Estubi se sociant juvenes, tibicine sumpto, 
Ejt famulas rapiunt ex sedibus, atque ad arutum 
Jungunt, quas scutica pellitque acdirigit unus. 
Unus item stivam tenet ; et tibicen aratri 
Considet in medio, ridendasque occinit odas. 
Unus item sequitur sator ; is vel spargit arenam, 
Vel fatuo cinerem gestu vultuque severe." 
Regnum Papisticum. 2\ Naogeorgo Autore. Lib. iv. p. 144. 


farmers^ and every farmer their servants and task-men. 
Plough Monday puts them in mind of their business. In 
the morning the men and maid-servants strive who shall 
show their diligence in rising earliest. If the plovtman 
can get his whip, his plough-staff, hatchet, or any thing 
that he wants in the field, by the fire-side before the maid 
has got the Kettle on, then the maid loses her shrove- tide 
cock, and it wholly belongs to the men. Thus did our 
forefathers strive to allure youth to their duty, and pro- 
vided them innocent mirth as well as labour. On Plough- 
Monday they have a good supper, and some strong 

I have already alluded to the popi^^h origin of Plough- 
Monday, and in two customs yet to be mentioned we 
shall see the undeniable proofs of it. The first of these 
was the plough-light, maintained by the husbandman be- 
fore some image, t It will perhaps be replied that this 
was not necessarily connected with the day itself, 
since for ought that appears to the contrary it may have 
burnt at other times ; but allowing such to be the case, 
the same cannot be said of the drawing the plough about 
the fire upon this day, a custom evidently springing from 
the same source as the many fire-observances already 
noticed. I 

• TussBR REDivivrs, p. 79. 8vo. London. 1744. 

t Bloomfiehi*s History op Norfolk, vol. iv. p. 287. Folio, 
Lynn. 1775. 

+ It is mentioned in the thirty-fourth chapter of Dives and Palper 
(sig. e. ii.) amongst the things prohibited by law — '• Ledynge of the 
plough about the fire as for gode begynnyng of theyere that they shulde 
fare the better alle the yere followyng &c." But, though the form of the 
rites might vary, most nations have had their sacred ploughings j the 
Greeks, the Persians, and the Chinese had them beyond a question. The 
Athenians had three sacred ploughings ; the first upon the place called 
SciruSj the earliest record of sowing ; the second in the Rarian plain ; 
and the third close to the city, called from the yoke of oxen, Buzy- 


Saint Agnes Day. — January *l\. Saint Agnes, or, as 
it is more correctly written Hagnes,* — was a Roman 
young lady, of only thirteen years of age, who had the 
misfortune as she passed to and fro in her daily visits to 
school to be seen and admired by the son of the city- 
prefect, Symphorianus. As she did not choose to return 

gium^ or the Ox-ploughing, — 'AOfjvatoi Tpiiq dpdrovg Upovg dyovai, 
irptjjTOv trri Skijooi, tov TraXaioraTov rdv oiroptav viroiivrjua^ 
Sevrepov kv ttj *Tapia, rpirov xtird ttSXiv tov KaXovfitvov Pov^^yiov. 
Plutarchi CoNJUQALiA PaiECBPTA. — Opera; torn. vi. p. 544; edit. 
Reiskii ; 8to. Lipsiae, 1777. But all forms of fire-worship, however they 
maj be immediatelj derived, are uniformly found, when traced up to 
their source, to originate in, or in some way to be connected with, the 
worship of the sun. Of course I do not pretend to say that in this coun- 
try we had such observances from the fountain-head; on the contrary 
they would mostly appear to be the popish corruptions of pagan super- 
stitions, as an example of which I may notice the Roman-Catholic cere- 
mony of walking about the city in procession with lighted candles in their 
hands on the day of the Purification. The proud and dogmatic Inno- 
cent the Third himself allows that this was borrowed from the customs 
of the old Romans, who did the same thing in commemoration of Ceres 
seeking her daughter Proserpine in the night-time throughout Sicily, 
and we hardly need look for better authority. (Sermon bs db Tbm- 
porr; Colonise; 1675 — In Feat. Purif. Serm. J.) It is also men- 
tioned by Belethus, and I quote the passage as being moreover illus- 
trative of another point, — namely, why the second of February is called 
Candlemas Day. '< Quare autem candblaria vocetur aliam authori- 
tatem non habet, sed potius fluxum est ab antiqua consuetudine ethni- 
corum sive gentilium. Erat enim antiquities Romae consuetudo, ut 
circa hoc tempus in principio ]f ebruario urbem lustrarent, eam ambi- 
endo cum suis processionibus gestantes singuli candelas ardentes, et 
vocabatur illud amburbale.** Divin. Offic. Explicatio, a Joanne 
Beletho. Cap. 81 .p. 347 . Other reasons — for there is never any want of 
reason in these cases — will be found in the proper place under the head 
of February. 

* *^ Agnes beatissima (quam rectius Hagnem appellaveris) cujus 
passionem Romee celebratam describit Ambrosius." — Divi Antonini 
Chronicarum Opus; in tres partes divisum — Pars Prima; p. 451, 
cap. i. De Sanctis Martyrihug, sect. 39, Tit. viii ; De Plurih, Martyr. 
Passis. Folio ; Lugd. 1586. 


bis passion, the angry lover caused her to be thrown 
into the flames, and, these being extinguished by her 
prayers, recourse was had, as was usual in all such cases, 
to the sword, when either she forgot to pray, or prayers 
are naturally of no avail in blunting the edge of steel j 
the good sword did its office,'*' and she was elected into the 

♦ These facts are recorded by many writers — ** Duodecimo Kal. 
Fbbruahii. Romae passio SanctsB Agnetis, virginis, quee sub prae- 
fecto urbis Symphronio ignibus injecta, sed, iis per orationem ejus 
extinctis, gladio percussa est." Martyrologium Romanum. a C 
Baronio Sorano, fol. 60. 4to. Col. Agrip. 1603. — So too in Bede ; 
^ XII. Calbnd. Fbbr. Natale beatse Agnetis virginis et martyris, quae 
tertio-decimo oetatis suae anno in urbe Roma passa est. Haec 
dum ab scholis revertitur, a praefecti filio adamatur ; quam cum nullo 
modo sibi associare yaluisset, post multa tormenta in gutture ejus gla- 
dio percussa est. Bedm MARTYROLOoroM. — Opera, — Tom. iii. p. 
2R1. — Bede calls the prefect Simphorianus ; by Baron the name is 
written SymphroniuSy probably by a typical blunder. The story how- 
ever gains much in the narration of Antoninus, the archbishop of Flo- 
rence, who has epitomized it from Ambrosius. According to these 
learned authorities, the Prefect indignant at his son's rejection by the 
lady, and finding out she was a Christian, gave her the choice of two 
things > " aut sacrifica diis cum virginibus deae Vestae, aut cum mere- 
tricibus scortaberis in contubemio lupanaris." — "Either sacrifice to the 
Gods with the Vestal Virgins, or be a prostitute in the common stews." 
To this, Agnes flatly replied that she would do neither the one nor the 
other, whereupon the prefect commanded her to be stript ; but God 
gave such encrease to her hair that it concealed her better than any gar- 
ment, and upon entering the house of sin she found an angel of the Lord 
already there, who spread about the place an excessive light, and had 
prepared for her a white robe. All, who entered, were astounded and 
paid adoration to this miraculous refulgence, except the Prefect's son ; 
he attempted to rush into the midst of it, but instantly fell down and 
expired. This catastrophe worked so effectually upon the father, that 
he would fain have liberated her ; not however daring to do this, he 
turned the business over to his deputy, Aspasius, and he committed 
her to the flames, which instead of touching her divided into two parts 
and burnt up the people, so that as a last resource he was compelled to 
plunge a sword into her throat. See the Chronicarum Opus Divi 
Antonini. Pars Primal p. 554. — Cap. I ; De Sanctis Martyris, — 
Tit. viii. De Plurib Martyr, passis. 


host of Saints, as was made manifest by her appearance 
on the eighth day after her decease. It was then that her 
parents, who were praying at her tomb, beheld a choir of 
virgins all radiant in shining garments, and in the midst 
of them the blessed Agnes similarly attired, while at her 
right hand stood a lamb, whiter than snow.* Hence in 
the pictures of her she is always painted with a lamb -, 
and yearly also on this day two are offered to her by the 
Roman women, which are then placed in some rich pas- 
ture 'till the time comes for sheep-shearing, when they 
are dipt and" their wool woven by some dexterous hand 
into an archepiscopal pall, or pallium. t 

If saints and saints' days were not things altogether 
beyond the pale of human reason, we might wonder how 
so bitter an etiemy to the marriage- state as far as con- 
cerned herself should ever be induced to reveal to curious 
maids and bachelors the forms of their future partners in 
wedlock. Yet so it was — *'On St. Agnes nighty" says 
Aubrey, " take a row of pins and pull out every one, one 
after another, saying a pater-noster or our father, sticking 
a pin in your sleeve, and you will dream of him or her 

* ** Cum octavo die parentes ejus juxta tumulum ipsius vigilarent 
orando, viderunt chorum virginum fulgidis vestibus radiantem, inter 
quas viderunt B. Agnetem simili veste fulgentem, et a dextris ejus 
agnum stantem nive candidiorem.*' Antonini Chronic : Opus ; loco 

f *' Namque in ea binos agnos candore nivali 
Agnetis templi monachee primam super aram, 
Dum celebrantur sacra Dei cantatur et Agnus, 
(Ad rem nepe haec cuncta) solent afferre quotannis. 
Hob dein pontiiicis mittunt in laeta ministri 
Pascua, tondendi dum opportuna appetat hora. 
Candida detonsse miscetur turn altera lanee ; 
Indeque praegnanti torquentur stamina fuso, 
Ex quibus arguta texuntur pallia dextra." 
Regnum Papisticum. a T. Naogeorgo, Lib. iv. p. 136. 12mo. 
Basileae. 1559. 


you shall marry."* Fasting however, according to some 
authorities, was a requisite part of the ceremony, or per- 
haps if this were observed the pin-sticking might be dis- 
pensed with : thus in the old comedy of Cupid's Whir- 
ligig, the alderman's daughter. Nan, tells her friend that 
she could find in her heart '' to pray nine times to the 
moone, and fast three Saint Agnes* Eves so that I might bee 
sure to have him to my husband. *'t So too Burton 5 
" they'll give any thing to know when they shall be 
married, how many husbands they shall have by cromnyo- 
mantial a kinde of divination with onions laid on the altar 
on Christmass Eve, or hy fasting on St. Agnes' Eve,^ or 

* The same superstition was attached also to Saint Anne's, or Saint 
Anna's night, that is July the 26th. 

''She can start our Franklin's daughters 
In her (their) sleep with shrieks and laughters ; 
* And on sweet St Anna's night 
Feed them with a promised sight 
Some of husbands, some of lovers. 
Which an empty dream discovers." 
Ben Jonson's Masque of the Satyr — Works; vol. vi. p. 472. 
Upon this, however, Whalley observes, and his note is quoted by 
Giffard in silence — ^* the feat it alludes to is sometimes said to be 
performed upon St. Agnes' night ; and 'tis possible this might have 
been the original reading.*' It may perhaps be deemed a confirmation 
of Whalley's conjecture that Aubrey, when quoting the same passage, 
observes in a marginal note, " His printed St. Anne's night falsely." — 
Aubbbt's Miscellames, p. 104, chap. xiii. — Magic, p. 104. 8vo. 
London. 1696 

f Actus Ter. — Scerui prima. Sig. E. 2. 4to. London. J 6 16.— 7 
Andsig. £.3. Edit. 1630. 

t From two Greek words, KpofifAvov an onion, and fiavniat divina- 

§ It is not a little singular that here again we should have the same 
confusion between St Anne and St. Agnes, that I have already noticed ; 
the edition of the Anatomy op Mblancholt published in 1660 has 
St. Agrees : that in 1676 has St. Anne, 


night, who shall be their first husband ; or by ximphito- 
mantia, by beans in a cake, &c., to burn the same.'** 

St. Paul's Day. — January 25. The conversion of St. 
Paul, from which this day has its name, is by some writers 
supposed to have occurred two years after Chriat's Ascen- 
sion,t by others not till seven,} and by others again it is 
placed in the same year with the crucifixion. § 

It was on this day that the husbandmen of old used to 
make prognostics of the weather, and of other matters for 
the whole year, a custom, which Bourne has laboured to 
unravel with much laudable gravity. That he failed to do 
so will surprise no one ; and perhaps it was hardly worth 
while to inflict some eight or ten pages upon his readers 
to convince them of the fact.|| Mayster Erra Pater sets 
to work much more scholarly and wisely, by laying down 
the infallible rules by which such prognostics maybe made. 

" A lytell rule of S, Paules daye, otherwyse called the Conver- 
sation of S. Paule. 
" The sayenge of Erra Pater to the Husbande man. 

If that the daye 

of S. Paule be chearell 
Than shall betjde 
an happy yere. 

« Robert Burton*8 Anatomy op Mblancholy. Part 3, Sect. 2. — 
Memb. 4; Subs. 1. 

f ** Conversio sancti Pauli, Apostoli, quae fuit secundo ab ascensione 
Domini anno.'* Martyrologium Romanum, a Casare Baronio 
Sorano. Octavo Kalend. Februarii, p. 74. 4to. Col. Agripp. 1603 

t '* Fuit enim quorundam opinio, sanctu Paulum post septennium 
ab Ascensione Domini Christo nomen dedisse ; idque ex Hippolyto 
Thebano Michael Glycas in tertia Annalium parte, et Niceph. Lib. 2, 
Cap. 3. Evodii auctoritate confirmare nituntur." Id. p. 75. 

§ ** Conversio sancti Pauli, Apostoli, facta est eodem anno quo 
Christus passus est et Stephanus lapidatus, anno quidem non naturali 
sen emergent!," Guliel. Duramdi Rationale Divinorum Officjo- 
RUm. Lib. vii. cap. iv. 

11 BouRNB's Antiquitatbs Vuloarbs. Chap, xviii. p. 159. 

■|I An evident misprint for cleare^ i. e. clear. 


Yf it do chaunce 

to snowe or rayne. 
Then shall be deare 

all kynde of grajne. 
But and the wynde 

then be a lofte, 
Wurres shall yeze 

this Realme full ofte. 
And yf the Glowdes 

make darke the skje 
Both neate and Fowle 
that yeare shall dye."* 
If the reader objects to the version of old Erra Pater 
here is a second given by Willsford.t 

*' If Saint Paul's Day be fair and clear, 
It does betide a happy year ; 
But if it chance to snow or rain 
Then will be dear all kind of grain ; 
If clouds or mist do dark the skie 
Great store of beasts and birds shall die ; 
And if the winds do fly aloft 
Then wars shall vex that kingdom oft." 

The weather of the whole year thus depending on the 
humour in which St. Paul might chance to be upon his 
feast-day^ the people made no scruple of showing their 
resentment if by his wearing cloudy looks at such a time 
he disappointed their hopes for the season. In many 

* ''The Vronoetffcacton tot ebrt of OBrra 9atu : 9 Jlrtoe ftorne 
tn Hetoerg, a iBoctouv in Astronomse axxti Vis^scite. Vrofitoile to 
itepe tl^e Mfi$t in l^eltQ. 9nl^ also 9tiftolomett0 tfa^tQ tlje same.*' 

No date is affixed to this work, but it is stated to be *' SmpttntelT tS 

me.Hoftect 4!lffiifier, Irtoellsnge at tie J^sgne of J^efint Jlo^n (EEfban- 
geltst tn Ibefint iHartsn's Varsete tn^tft Cl^arsnge Crosse. 

There is however another edition by the same printer, in which the 
above lines are not given, and in which the three or four last pages 
differ considerably. A third reprint by Thomas Este varies yet more, 
omitting much, adding a few things, and giving the substance of many 
parts in other words. 

t Naturb^s Sbcrbts, p. 145. 8 vo. London. 1658. 


parts of Germany they dragg;ed his image to the river on 
these occasions, and there soused him well in efiigy.* 

This notion, however fallacious, must at one time have 
been very general, for we not only find it repeatedly men- 
tioned by our own writers, but we have the evidence of 
Olaus Wormius for its having existed among the Northern 
nations. The Latin lines he has quoted on the subject 
are to the same effect as the prediction in English by 
Erra Pater.f 

• " Schbnck's Treatise on Images, chap. xii. — as quoted by 
Brand, vol. i. page 83. 

t '< Clara dies Pauli bona tempora denotat anni ; 
Si fuerint venti, designant praelia gcnti ; 
Si fuerint nebulae, pereunt animalia queeque ; 
Si nix aut pluviK, redduntur tempora cara." 
Fasti Danici — ab Olao fTormto, p. HI. Lib. ii. cap. 9, sect. 9. 
A version, somewhat differing from this, but the same in substance, 
is given by Hearne in his edition of Rob. db Avesburt ; Hist. 
Eduardi tbrtii. Minutia, p. 266. And again we find them in 
Hospinian (De Festia Chriatianorum; p. 38.) with a grave caution 
that no faith is to be placed in the prognostication — 

<» Ne credas cert^, nam fallet regula saepe.*' 



Divinations in Advent,-- Two sorts of divination are 
practiced at this period by girls desirous of le«irning the 
temper of their future husbands. The first mode was by 
taking from four to eight onions and scratching on each 
of them the names they most fancied ; these they set in 
the chimney-cotner, and whichever was the first to sprout, 
that one bore the name of the future help-mate. The 
next method was by going out at night and drawing a 
single stick from a wood-stack, but without attempting 
to pick or choose ; if it turned out straight and even, and 
without knots, then the husband would be gentle 5 if on 
the contrary it proved knotty and crooked, then the 
husband would be a churl.^ 

* " nils divinaiit etiam inquiruntque diebus 
Aptae connubio jam lascivseque puellae 
Nomine de sponsi, qujcunque est ille futurus. 
Quatuor accipiunt csepas, vel quinque, vel octo, 
Atque indunt cerium nomen prae aliisque cupitum 
Cuique *, dein propter fornacem ex ordine ponunt ; 
Et quae prima suum protrudit caepula germen, 
Illius baud dubie nomen quoque sponsus habebit. 
Inquirunt etiam sponsi moresque animumque, 
. Sol postquam occiduus caelum terrasque reliquit ; 
Namque struem lignorum adeunt turn, perque tenebras 
Fortuito inde sudem ca£u queeque extrahit unam, 


Lunar Superstition.- — In Wiltshire it is said to be un- 
lucky to look at the new moon first through a window. 
As to the man in the moon himself, some have supposed 
that the idea has arisen from that passage in the book of 
Numbers, where a man is stoned to death for gathering 
sticks upon a Sunday.* But indeed by some strange 
caprice of superstition the moon has had more traditions 
and observances connected with her than the sun itself, 
and not improbably because the night, the time of her 
predominance, is better calculated to create and nourish 
such fancies than the cheerful day. To name only a 
few of them. Whoever prays for any thing when the 
moon is in conjunction with Jupiter and the Dragon*8 
head, will be sure to obtain it.f But though this 
aphorism would seem to apply equally to either sex, yet 
of lovers it was more especially the women, who paid 
their vows to the moon, while men sought similar favours 
of the sun, a distinction for which no cause has been as- 
signed, so far as I know, by the learned in such high 
mysteries.J In other respects the moon was of doubtful 
augury, being evil or propitious according to the state 
in which she was at the time ; thus, wood cut at the full 
of the moon is affected with blight and rottenness -, § 

Quae fierit si recta et nuUis horrida nodes 
CommoduB ac comis speratur rite maritus ; 
Sin vero prava et nodis incommoda duris 
Improbulum acpravum sperant obtingeresponsum." 
THOMiE Naogborgi Regnum Papisticum. — Lib. iv. p. 130. 12mo. 

• Numbers. Chap. xv. ver. 32 — 36. 

+ *' Qui, Luna, inquit Albumazar, Jovi, conjuncta cum Capite 
Draconico, supplied verity quicquid petierit procul dubio impetrabit." 
CiELius Rhodioinus. Lectiones AntiqucBy p. 645. F. 

X " Scribit tamen Pindarus, ex amantibus soli quidem viros vota 
concipere, lunee autem faeminas." Idem, p. 205. H. 

§ '^Succisa ligna in plenilunio carie conficiuntur, tunc rubigo 
infestat." T^E Adm irandis Facultatibus. Autore D, H, Montuo^ t*^ 


neither is it good to voyage in the interval between the 
old and new moon or in an eclipse of that luminary.* 
Then too different objects are affected by it in different 
manners ; many things for instance^ that encrease with 
the encreasing moon, cease to grow and become sapless 
when she wanes j while on the other hand some roots^ 
such as the onion, germinate with the waning moon, and 
dry up as she waxes. t 

Next as to the names and qualities of the moon. It is 
white because it rules the waters, whose nature it is to 
become white in concretion.]: It was called Melissa as 
the presiding deity of generation,§ and Diana herself 
was named threeformed from the triple aspects of the 
moon — the horned ; the half -moon ; and the fttU moon.\\ 

Spayed Bitches, — I believe all over England a spaied 
bitch is accounted wholesome 3 that is to say, they have 

No. 71; Gent. Secunda, p. 40. 12mo. Lugduni. 1556. This is 
printed with the Memorabilia of Mizaldus, forming the latter part of 
the volume. 

* *"* Silente aut deficiente luna non esse navigandum expertus est 
Synesius." Idem. No. 7'i. Cent, ii, p. 40. 

f " Omnia quae crescente luna gliscunt deficiente contra desinunt 
exuccaque r»unt. Quamquam in quibusdam est antipathia, nam cepe, 
teste Plutarcho, luna decedente revirescit ac congerminat. Inarescit- 
que eadem adolescente." Idem. No. 68 ; Cent. vi. p. 39. He 
afterwards adds that the'onion is the only one root that acts by lunar 
antipathies, his text not l)eing very consistent with itself. 

X " Album porro colorem lunse contribuunt quoniam aquis domine- 

tur is planeta, quarum natura est uti concretione inalbescant. L. 

^ Cmuivs Rhodiginus. Lectiones Antiq. Lib. xxvi. cap. 9, p. 1207. D. 

§ '^ Lunam quoque generationis prsesidem, Melissara dixere.*' 
C^ELius Bhodiginus, Lib. xxii. cap. 3, p. 1028. F. But the priests 
of Ceres were also called Melissas, 

II *' Quia vero triplicem faciat visitationem Luna— quum surgit in 
•jj* cornua et faleata dicitur — quumque dimidia est^-et quum orbe circu- 

-^ macto— hincpropagatum autumant poetlcum commentum de triformi 

Diana.** Id. Lib. xx ; cap. vi ; p. 927. D. 


a strong belief that it keeps away evil spirits from haunt- 
ing of a house ; e. g. among many other instances^ at 
Cranborn in Dorsetshire about 1686 a house was haunted 
and two tenants successively went away for that reason -, 
a third came and brought his spaied bitch, and was never 

Charm against Night -hags. 

** Bring the holy crust of bread, 
hay it underneath the head ; 
'Tis a certain charm to keep 
HagB awaj while children 8leep."t 

The Kni/e^Charm. 

** Let the superstitious wife 
Neer the child's heart lay a knife, 
Point be up, and haft be downe, 
(While she gossips in the towne *,) 
This 'mongst other znystick charms 
Keeps the sleeping child from harms.*' | 


'' Hang up hooks and sheers, to scare 
Hence the hag that rides the mare 
Till they be all over wet 
With the mire and the sweat ; 
This obsery'd the mares shall be 
Of your horses all knot-free. "§ 

•Aubrey's Rbmains op Gentilismb, &c. MS. : Bibl. : Lansdown, — 
folio 130. 
+ Herrick's Hesperides, p. 336. % Id. Idem. § Idem. p. 234. 



Verstboan tells us this month was called by our Saxon 
ancestors^ sprout-kele, ''by kele meaning the kele-wort, 
which we now call the coleumrt, the greatest potwurt in 
time long past that our ancestors used^ and the broth 
made therewith was thereof also called kele; for before 
we borrowed from the French the name of potage and the 
name of herbs, the one in our own language was called 
kele, and the other umrt ; and as this kele-wurt, or potage- 
hearbe, was the chief mnter-wurt for the sustenemce of the 
husbandman^ so was it the first hearbe that in this 
moneth began to yield out wholesome young sprouts^ 
and consequently gave thereunto the name of sprout- 

It had also the name of Solmonath, which fiede explains 
by Pan-cake-month, because in the course of it cakes 
were offered up by the Pagan Saxons to the sun^ and sol, 
or soul signified " food^ or cakes." It is scarcely necessary 
to add that the Latin Februarius^ the origin of our Fe- 

• Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, p. 64, ed. 1674. 



bruary, was derived from fehrua*, an expiatory, or puri- 
fying sacrifice offered to the Manes, because in that month 
the Luperci, or priests of Pan, perambulated the city, 
carrying thongs of goat- skin, with which they scourged 
the women, and this was received for an expiation. Hence 
we have the word, though it is now well-nigh obsolete, 
of februation, in the meaning of a purification. 

February has in general an ill name, and often worse 
than he deserves, for notwithstanding his thaws and 
clammy colds he shows some symptoms of the spring, 
though it must be granted that he is not always a very 
smiling harbinger. In his train appear many flowers, and 
all the more charming from their coming at a season that 
is otherwise somewhat dreary j the Primrose flowers and 
shows its pale blossoms on every bank ; the double Daisies 
begin to blow j ih^ fruitless Strawberry, the Butchers' Broom* 
the yellow Coltsfoot, will also open j and the Early Whit' 
low Grass flowers on old walls and the dry sides of fields. 
Then too, comes the early Cyclomen, but he requires the 
shelter of a green-house ; the Oriental Hyacinth, an in-doors 
companion -, the Hearfs Ease, or Pansie; the Polyanthus ; 
the Yellow Spring Crocus ; the Old Cloth of Gold Crocus ; 
the Persian Iris, but he requires shelter j the Wall Speed- 
well; the Field Speedwell ; the Noble Liverwort ; the Parti- 
coloured Crocus ; the Daisy, of Herb-Margaret ; the Offi- 
cinal Coltsfoot ; the White Willow ; the Brittle Willow ; the 
Long-leaved Osier: the Ivy-leaved Veronica; the Purple 
Spring Crocus ; and the Shepherd's Purse; a goodly catalogue 
of friends and visitors for so dull a gentleman as February 
is usually held to be, and one which speaks very fairly for 
his character. But he has other acquaintance whose tes- 

* Februa has by some been supposed synonymous with Juno, and 
the manifest relation between the Februata Juno and the Pur^ficata 
Virgo Maria is one of the many singular coincidences between Pa- 
gan and Christian rites. They are much too numerous to have been 
the effect of mere accident. 


timony is no less favourable. The wood-lark^ one of the 
earliest and sweetest of our songsters, does him homage ; 
and the green wood-pecker is heard in the forest ; while 
the goats play about^ and gnats swarm under the sunny 
hedges. Then too> he has more days of note than any 
other month in the year. In the very outset there is 
Candlemas £ve^ his birth- day, as we may call it« since it 
falls upon the first, a time which our forefathers cele- 
brated with a multitude of pleasing and significant cere- 
monies. They kindled the yule^brand, and allowed it to 
burn till sunset, when it was quenched and carefully laid 
by to teend the Christmas clog, or log, at the next return 
of the season, 

** And, where 'tis safely kept, the fiend 
Can do no mischief there."* 

The rosemary, the bay, the ivy» the holly, and the mis- 
letoe, the Christmas decorations of hall and cottage, were 
now pulled down, when according to the popular super- 
stition not a braneh, nor even a leaf, should be allowed to 

** For look, how many leaves there be 

So many goblins you shall see.^f 

In their place, however, the " greener box was up- 
raised," and Christmas now was positively at an end. 
Some, indeed, considered this to have been the case on 
Twelfth Night ; and old Tusser, in his '' Five Hundred 
Points of Good Husbandry," strongly contends for it 5, 
but then his head was more full of the cart and plough 
than of regard for old customs : and, like any other mas- 
ter, he was naturally anxious that the holidays should be 
ended, and the labourers should get to work again as soon 
as possible 5 and certes, merry-making, however agree- 
able it may be, will not help to dig the land or sow the 
grain. But in spite of these wise saws, the truth of 

• Herrick. f Herrick. 



which nobody would contest^ human feelings are stronger 
than human reason^ and customs, when they tend to 
pleasure, will maintain their ground, till they are super- 
seded — not by privations, but by other forms of amuse- 
ment. Having therefore tolerated the rites of Candlemas 
Eve, we may as well put up with those of Candlemas Day* 
And why was it called Candlemas } hear how Pope Inno- 
cent replies to the question, in a sermon upon this festival, 
quoted in Pagano Papismus — *' Because the Gentiles dedi- 
cated the month of February to the infernal gods, and as 
at the beginning of it Pluto stole Proserpine ; and her 
mother, Ceres, sought her in the night with lighted can- 
dles, so they, in the beginning of this month, walked about 
the city with lighted candles ; because the holy fathers 
could not utterly extirpate this custom, they ordained that 
Christians should carry about candles in honour of the 
blessed Virgin Mary ; and thus what was done before to 
the honour of Ceres is now done to the honour of the 

There can be little doubt that this is the real origin of 
the custom, though Butler, upon the authority of St. Ber- 
nard, states, that the candlebearing at this season had re- 
ference to Simeon's declaration in the Temple, when the 
parents brought in the child Jesus, that he was " a light 
to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of the people Israel.** 
Few, however, will be inclined to accept this far-fetched 
<]erivation when one so much more obvious is at hand. 

From whatever cause the ceremony originated, it ac- 
quired many additional rites in the process of time, ac- 
cording to the manners and habits of those who adopted 
it. We are told in Dunstan*s Concord of Monastic Rules, 
that ''the monks went in surplices to the church for 
candles, which were to be consecrated, sprinkled with 
holy water, and censed by the abbot. Every monk took a 
candle from the sacrist and lighted it. A procession was 


made^ thirds and mass were celebrated^ and the candles^ 
after the offering, were presented to the priest. The 
monks' candles signified the use of them in the parable 
of the wise virgins." 

Other authorities tell us that there was on this day a 
general consecration of all the candles to be burnt in the 
Catholic churches throughout the whole year ^ and it is 
probable enough that all these customs may have pre- 
vailed at various times and in different places. It should 
also be mentioned that from Candlemas the use of tapers 
at vespers and litanies, which had continued^hrough the 
whole winter, ceased until the ensuing All-Hallow Mass, 
which will serve to explain the old English proverb in 
Ray*s Collection — 

** On Candlemas Day 
Throw candle and candlestick away.'* 

The ceremony of carrying Candlemas candles continued 
in England, till it was repealed for its Popish tendency by 
an order in council in the second year of King Edward 
VI. Still the many and various customs, that grew out 
of it, could not be extirpated by any legal enactments. 
They assumed a multitude of forms, the innate significa- 
tion of which is now as much lost to us as that of the 
characters upon the Egyptian pyramids. ThugJl one tells 
usy from the communication of some unnamed individual, 
of a custom that prevailed in Lynne Regis, and which , so 
far as he knew, was confined to a single family — " The 
wood-ashes of the family being sold throughout the year 
as they were made, the person who purchased them annu- / 
ally sent a present at Candlemas Day of a large candle./ 
When night came, the candle was lighted, and, assistev 
by its illumination, the inmates regaled themselves with 
cheering draughts of ale and sippings of punch, or some 
other animating beverage, until the candle had burnt out. 
The coming of the Candlemas candle was looked forward 


to by the young ones as an event of some consequence, 
for of usage they had a sort of right to sit up all night 
and partake of the refreshments till all retired to rest, the 
signal for which was the self-extinction of the Candlemas 

The peculiar merits of this day are not yet exhausted. 
It was a favourite epoch for drawing prognostics of the 
weather, it being held on all hands that the second of Fe- 
bruary ought on no account to be fine 5 Aubrey quotes 
from some forgotten record, 

** Si sol splendescat Maria purificante 
Major erit glades post festuin quam fait ante." 

Considering the general state of the weather in Febru- 
ary, this was prophecying on the safe side of the ques- 
tion, and we need not be surprized therefore if we find 
others following in the same track. Bishop Hall informs 
us in a sermon upon Candlemas, " it hath been an old 
— I say not how true — note, that hath been wont to be set 
on this day, that if it be clear and sun- shiny, it portends 
a hard weather to come -, if cloudy and louring, a mild 
and gentle season ensuing." And Ray says, 

** The hind had as lief see 

his wife on the bier, 
As that Candlemas Day 

should be pleasant and clear." 

In the *•' Country Almanack'* again, for 1676, we find 
a similar doctrine advanced ', 

*' Foul weather is no news ; 

hail, rain, and snow 
Are now expected, and 

esteemed no woe ; 
Nay, 'tis an omen bad, 

the yeomen say 
If Phcebus shows his face 

the second day*' — i.e. of February. 

But enough of Candlemas Day. Its tapers are burnt 


out, and the joyful song of the birds, who are beginning to 
choose their mates, announce that Valentine Day is come, 
the whole burthen of which seems with us to have fallen 
on the unlucky postman. He now finds that love is no 
such light matter, whatever other folks may think, for is 
he not transformed for the nonce into Cupid's messenger, 
albeit his blue coat and red collar have nothing very 
etherial in them ? 

Saint Valentine ? — all we know of this holy personage 
is that he was a priest at Rome, where he was martyred 
about 270, and had in consequence the honour of being 
assigned a niche in the record of Saints, his post being 
the 14th of February. Enquiries have been made, but 
hitherto in vain, to discover what the good bishop had 
done that should entitle him to have this day above all 
others appropriated to him. We have only, however, to 
suppose that his martyrdom took place on the 14th, and 
the whole mystery is solved, all the other peculiarities 
of the day being merely accidents, that had nothing to 
do with his individual character, and which would have 
as readily attached to any one else, who had met with the 
good fortune of being sainted at that particular season. 

The origin of this custom has been sought for in the 
Lupercalia of the Romans, and with much apparent rea- 
son, as will be evident when we come to enquire into the 
old mode of celebrating Valentine's Day, which, as we 
shall presently see, had but little in common with the mo- 
dern habit of sending silly letters by the penny post. In 
ancient Rome a festival was held about the middle of 
February, called the Lupercalia, in honour of Pan and Juno, 
whence the latter obtained the epithet of Februata Feb- 
rualis, and Fabrulla. Upon this occasion the names of 
young women were put, amidst a variety of ceremonies, 
into a box, from which they were drawn by the men as 
chance directed, and so rooted had this, like many other 


customs^ become amongst the people^ that the pastors 
of the early Christian church found themselves unable to 
eradicate it. They therefore, instead of entering into a 
fruitless struggle, adopted their usual policy on such occa- 
sions^ and since they could not remove what they held to 
be an unsightly nuisance, they endeavoured, as a skilful 
architect would do^ to convert it into an ornament. Thus 
they substituted the names of Saints for those of women^ 
a change that would not seem to have been generally, or 
for any long time, popular, since we read that at a very 
remote period the custom prevailed of the young men 
drawing the names of the girls, and that the practice of 
adopting mates by chance-lots soon grew reciprocal be- 
tween the sexes. In fact Pan and Juno vacated their seats 
in favour of Saint Valentine, but the Christian bishop 
could not escape having much of the heathen ritual fas- 
tened upon him. We must not, however, imagine that 
Valentine's Day, any more than Epiphany or Candlemas, 
was celebrated with one uniform mode of observance j the 
customs attendant upon it varied considerably according 
to the place and period. In many parts of England, and 
more particularly in London, the person of the opposite 
sex, who is first met in the morning, not being an in- 
mate of the house, was taken to be the Valentine, a usage 
that is noticed by the poet. Gay, 

** I early rose just at the break of day 
Before the sun had chasM the stars away ; 
A-field I went, amid the morning dew, 
To milk my kine (for so should hoasewives do) 
The first I spied, and the first swain we see 
In spite of fortune our true love shall be.'' 

That the lasses went out to seek for their makes, or 

mates, i. e, Valentines, is also shown in poor Ophelia's 

broken snatches of a song -, 

" Good morrow ! 'tis St. Valentine's day 
All in the morning betime, 


And I a maid at your window 
To be your valentine." 

In the Gentlemen's Magazine for 1779« a correspond- 
ent under the name of Kitty Curious^ relates an odd cere* 
mony that she has been witness to in some humble vil- 
lage in Kent. The girls from five or six to eighteen 
years old were assembled in a crowds burning an uncouth 
effigy^ which they called a holly-hoy, and which they had 
stolen from the boys^ while in another part of the village 
the boys were burning what they called an ivy girl, which 
they had stolen from the girls. The ceremony of each 
burning was attended with huzzas and other acclama- </ I 
tions according to thejreceipt of custom in all such cases. . 'r 

The Monday before Shrove Tuesday was in old times 

called Collop Monday, '* coUop*' being a term for slices of 

dried or salted meat, as " steak *' signifies a slice of fresh 

meat. The etymology is too uncertain to make it worth 

while to quote the different accounts of it^ but upon this 

day it was customary to feast upon eggs and collops^ andj 

as Lent was approaching^ our ancestors used to cut up 

their meat in slices^ and preserve it> till the season of fast 

was over^ by salting, or drying it. In some parts the day 

seemed to have been kept as the vigil, or eve, of Shrove 

Tuesday, and in the neighbourhood of Salisbury, we are 

told, the boys went about from door to door, singing thus j 

'* Shrove-tide is nigh at hand, 
And I am come a shroving ; 
Pray, dame, something, 
An apple, or a dumpling, 
Or a piece of truckle * cheese 
Of your own making, 
Or a piece of pancake." 

The observance of this day originated, if we may be- 

* Brand and Hone, who have both quoted these lines, pass oyer 
the truckle-cheese in silence, as if it involved no difficulty ; nor can 
I offer any certain explanation of the etymology. The epithet truckte, 


^. J 


lieve Polydore Virgil, in the Roman feasts of Bacchus, 
and some vestiges of such an origin remain to the present 
time in the custom that the Eton boys have of writing 
verses at this season in praise of the Lybian God. These 
were composed in all kinds of measures and affixed to 
the college-doors. 

Shrove Tuesday, — or Pancake Tuesday, — or Fasting's 
Even, Easterns, Fasten, as it is sometimes called from 
being the vigil of Ash Wednesday, the commencement of 
the Lent Fast, — is a day of great importance in the ritual 
calendar. It is said to have got its first, and more ge- 
neral, appellation from the circumstance of its being a day 
when every one was bound to confess and be shrove, or 
shriven, so long as the Roman Catholic faith was predo- 
minant. That none might plead forgetfulness of this ce- 
remony the great bell was rung at an early hour in every 
parish, and in after times this ringing was still kept up in 
some places, though the cause of it ceased with the intro* 
dnction of Protestantism ', it then got the name of the 
Pancake-Bell, for reasons which we shall see hereafter. 

Notwithstanding this necessity for confession. Shrove 
Tuesday with us had all the features of the last day of 
the Italian carneval. What it was in the old time may 
be judged from the account given by Taylor, the Water- 
poet — " Always before Lent there comes waddling a fat, 
grosse, groome, called Shrove Tuesday, one whose manners 
shews he is better fed than taught, and indeed he is the 
only monster for feeding amongst all the dayes of the 
yeere, for he devoures more flesh in foureteene houres 

which Hone, for some unexplained reason, prints with a capital 7*, 
may possibly have a reference to the round, wheeUahapgd form of the 
cheese, for truckle, though well-nigh obsolete in that sense , was once 
commonly used for a wheeL Howerer derived, the word is even 
now familiar both in Wiltshire and Dosetshire for a small, but su- 
perior kind of cheese. 


than this old kingdom doth (or at the least should doe) 
in sixe weekes after. Such boyling and broyling, such 
roasting and toasting, such stewing and brewing, such 
baking, frying, mincing, cutting, carving, devouring, and 
gorbellied gurmondizing, that a man would thinke people 
did take iu two month's provision at once. '* Moreover it 
is a goodly sight to see how the cookes in great men's 
kitchins doe frye in their master's suet, that if ever a 
cooke be worth the eating, it is when Shrove Tuesday is 
in towne, for he is so stued and larded, basted, and almost 
over' roasted, that a man may eate every bit of him and 
never take a surfet. In a word, they are that day extreme 
cholerike, and too hot for any man to meddle with, being 
monarchs of the marow-bones, marquesses of the mutton^ 
lords high regents of the spit and the kettle, barons of 
the gridiron, and sole commanders of the frying-pan. 
And all this hurly burly is for no other purpose than to 
stop the mouth of this land-wheale. Shrove Tuesday, at 
whose entrance in the morning all the whole kingdome 
is in quiet, but by the time the clocke strikes eleven— 
which by the help of a knavish sexton is commonly be- 
fore nine, — then there is a bell rung called the Pancake 
Bell, the sound whereof makes thousands of people dis- 
tracted and forgetful either of manner or humanitie. 
Then there is a thinge cal'd wheaten flowre, which the 
sulphory, necromanticke cookes doe mingle with water, 
egges, spice, and other tragicall, magicall inchantments, 
and then they put it by little and little into a frying pan 
of boyling suet, where it makes' a confused dismal hissing 
— like the Lernean snakes in the reeds of Acheron, Stix, 
or Phlegeton, — until at last by the skill of the cooke it is 
transformed into the forme of a flap-Jack, which in our 
translation is caird a pancake, which ominous incantation 
the ignorant people doe devoure very greedily — having 
for the most part well dined before — but they have no 


sooner swallowed that sweet candied baite^ bat straight 
their wits forsake them, and they ranne starke mad, 
assembling in routs and throngs numberlesse of un- 
goyernable numbers^ with uncivill civill commotions. 

'* Then Tim Tatters — ^a most valiant villaine — with an 
ensign made of a piece of a baker s maukin* fixed upon 
8 broome-staffe^ he displaies his dreadful colours^ and 
calling the ragged regiment together^ makes an illiterate 
oration^ stuft with most plentifull want of discretion^ the 
conclusion whereof is, that somewhat they will doe^ but 
what they know not^ untill at last comes marching 
up another troupe of tatterdemalions, proclayming wars 
against no matter who, so they may be doing. Then 
these youths arm*d with cudgels, stones, hammers, rules, 
trowels, and handsawes, put play-houses to the sacke, and 
"^ * '^ to the spoyle, in the quarrel breaking a thousand 
fuarrehf — of glasse, I meane — making ambitious brick- 
bats breake their neckes, tumbling from the tops of lofty 
ehimnies, terribly untyling houses, ripping up the bowels 
of feather beds, to the inriching of upholsters, the profit 

* Brand, who quotes this last paragraph,, says that he does not 
know what to make of it, and Sir H. Ellis, after having twice edited 
the work, is, according to his general custom on such occasions, as 
mute as a Pythagorean. There is however no difficulty whatever in 
the passage. A maukmf or as it is sometimes written, malkiny is 
explained by Minshew to be *' instmmentum quo verruntur fumi 
calescentes,*' i.e. an instrument by which ovens are swept out ; and 
it farther appears from him that the word was use4 either for a broom 
or a dishclout. Gotgrave too says *^A manikin to make clean an oveu» 
PatrouiUef fourbaletf stroffignolo del fomo.*' Here it means the 
baker's dishclout, which was fastened to a pole as a flag for the 
merry rout, and borne aloft by Tim Tatters — ^i.e. Tatterdemalion — a 
fanciful, and not inappropriate, designation for the leader of ' the 
ragged regiment.' ** 

t It is perhaps hardly necessary to remind the reader that this is 
a pun upon the secondary meaning of the word *' quarrel,'^ i.e. a 
pttne of gltLUf from the Latin, guadrum. 


of plaisterers and dirt-dawbers, the gaine of glasiers^ 
joyners, carpenters^ tylers^ and bricklayers ; and^ which 
is worse^ to the contempt of justice ; for what avails 
it for a constable with an army of reverend rusty bill-men 
to command peace to these beastes^ for they with their 
pockets^ instead of pistols^ well charged with stone-shot^ 
discharge against the image of authority whole volleys as 
thicke as hayle^ which robustious repulse puts the better 
sort to the worser part^ making the band of unscowred 
halberdiers retyre faster than ever they come on^ and shew 
exceeding discretion in proving tall men of their heeles. 
Thus^ by the unmanerly maners of Shrove Tuesday, con- 
stables are baffled^ punckes are pillaged^ panders are 
plagued^ and the chiefe commanders of these valourous 
villiacoes^ for their reward of all this confusion, doe in 
conclusion purchase the inheritance of a jayle, to the 
commodity of jailers^ and the discommodity to them- 
selves^ with a fearfull expectation that Tiburne shall 
stoppe their throats, and the hangman take possession of 
their coates^ or that some beadle in bloody characters 
shall imprint their faults on their shoulders. So much 
for Shrove Tuesday, Jacke-a-Lent*s gentleman usher ; these 
have beene his humours in former times^ but I have 
some better hope of reformation in him hereafter and in- 
deed I wrote this before his coming this yeere 1617> not 
knowing how hee would behave himselfe ; but tottering 
betwixt despaire and hope I leave him.'* 

With the apprentices of London this season was more 
particularly a time of revel ; according to Dekker they 
'^ take the I awe into their own hands and doe what they 
liste.*'* One of their amusements was hunting and beat- 
ing the poor creatures of the town, and it has been sug- 
gested fi'om certain passages in the old dramatists that it 
was the custom at this period of the year for the consta- 

* *' Seven Deadly Sins of London." Quarto, 1606, p. 35. 



bles to search out women of ill fame^ and to confine 
them during Lent, while a still more degenerate class 
were carted. Evidences of both these habits may be 
gathered from the following passages. Sensuality says 
in Microcosmos (Act 5) — " But now welcome a cart, or a 
Shrove Tuesday's Tragedy.'' Again, in Nabbes* comedy, 
called Tottenham Court Road, quarto, London, 1638, 
p. 6 — " If I doe, I have lesse mercy than prentices at 
Shrove tide/* Still more striking is a passage in a Satyre 
against Separatists, quarto, London, 1765 ; and other pas- 
sages there are, but somewhat too coarse for the delicacy 
of modern ears^ when vice may be tolerated, but must 
not be named, and we shall therefore content ourselves 
with merely referring to them for the gratification of 
the curious. — Second Part of the *' Honest Whore," 
quarto, London, 1630. L. 6. et seq. 

As to the carting part of the story in the first of the 
above extracts, though it has been overlooked by Brand 
and his commentator, to ride in a cart was from very 
remote times reckoned ignominious ; thus, in the old 
romance of Launcelot de Lac, we are told '' en ce temps 
la estoit accoutumee que Charette estoit si vil que nuF 
n'estoit dedans qui tout loz et tout honneur n'eust perdu ; 
et quant s'invouloit a aucun tollir honneur si le faisoit 
s'en monter en un charette ^ car charette servit en ce 
temps la de ceque pilloris servent orendroit ; ne en chas- 
cune bonne ville n'en avoit, en ce temps la, que une " 
— in those days it was the custom to consider the cart so 
base, that no one could be in it without losing all fame 
and all honour ; and when it was wished to deprive any 
one of his reputation, he was made to mount in a cart ; 
for the cart served at that time for what pillories serve 
now; nor in those days in each good town was there 
more than one. 

Another amusement, if amusement it can be called. 


and which prevailed both in court and country^ was 

the tying of a cock to a 8take> and flinging sticks at 

the poor bird till it was beaten to death. If well trained 

it would often elude for a long time the missiles of its 

persecutors, thereby earning a considerable sum of 

money for its master ; and, when killed, it was put into 

a hat, and won a second time by the person, who could 

strike it out.- Erasmus accounts for this cruel folly by 

observing in an ironical tone that the English eat on 

Shrove Tuesday ''quoddam placentse genus," a certain 

kind of cake — meaning thereby pancakes — '' quo oomesto 

protinus insaniunt et gallos trucidant^" which being 

devoured they immediately run mad, and kill the cocks. 

This brutal custom has been variously derived. Some 

assert that it originated in an old story of the discovery of 

an adulterous amour by the crowing of a cock, which we 

need hardly say is utter nonsense 5 others have thought 

that the cock was thus made to suffer, in punishment 

for Saint Peter's crime in denying his master, which is 

no less ridiculous, although we have Sir Charles Sedley's 

authority for it in the following epigram -, 

*' May*st thou be punished for Saint Peter's crime, 
And on Shrove Tuesday perish in thy prime." 

A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for July 1783, 
tells us that he had somewhere heard or read of its 
being an allusion to the indignities offered to Christ by 
the Jews before his crucifixion. Cranenstein relates 
an idle story how '^when the Danes were masters of 
England, and lorded it over the natives of the island, 
the inhabitants of a certain great city, grown weary of 
their slavery, had formed a secret conspiracy to murder 
their masters in one bloody night 5 and twelve men had 
undertaken to enter the town -house by a stratagem, and 
seizing the arms surprize the guard, which kept it > and 
at which time their fellows upon a signal given were to 


come out of their houses and murder all opposers ; 
but when they were putting it in execution, the unusual 
crowing and fluttering of the cocks about the place they 
attempted to enter at^ discovered their design, upon 
which the Danes became so enraged that they doubled 
their cruelty and used them with more severity than 
ever. Soon after they were freed from the Danish 
yoke, and to revenge themselves on the cocks for the 
misfortune^ they had involved them in, they instituted 
this custom of knocking them on the head on Shrove 
Tuesday, the day on which it ^happened. This sport, 
though at first only practiced in one city, in process 
of time became a national divertisement, and has conti- 
nued ever since the Danes first lost this island.*' 

Were it worth while to refute this absurd version of 
the geese that by their cackling saved Rome, it might 
be replied that the Danes never did lose the island, but 
kept a fast hold of the prey they had once clutched. 
But the story, like the others before quoted, is sheer 
nonsense, although they are one and all gravely nar- 
rated by Brand, and passed over by Sir Henry £llis 
without a comment. 

On such occasions it is much better to confess our 
ignorance than to encrease the mass of error by idle con- 
jectures and yet more idle endeavours to enforce them by 
a display of reading that leaves the question just where it 
was. Indeed after all that has been said upon the sub- 
ject it seems more than probable that it originated in the 
same passion for brutal amusement, that gave rise to 
bear-baiting, bull-baiting, and so many sports of the 
same nature. It should be observed too that the practice 
was not confined to cocks alone, but extended itself to 
hens and doves, though this was by no means so ge- 

Another amusement of the season was what the people 


called threshing the fat hen, which is thus explained in 
Tusser Redivivus, *' The hen is hung at a fellow's back« 
who has also some horse- bells about him ^ the rest of 
the fellows are blind-folded, and have boughs in their 
hands^ with which they chase this fellow and his hen 
about some large court or small enclosure. The fellow 
with his hen and bells shifting as well as he can^ they fol- 
low the sound, and sometimes hit him and his hen ; other 
times, if he can get behind one of them, they thresh one 
another well favouredly ; but the jest is, the maids are to 
blind the fellows, which theyHo with their aprons, and the 
cunning baggages will indulge their sweet hearts with a 
peeping hole, while the others look out as sharp to hin- 
der it. After this the hen is boiled with bacon, and store 
of pancakes and fritters are (is) made. She, that is noted 
for lying a-bed long or any other miscarriage, hath the 
first pan-cake presented to her, which most commonly 
falls to the dog*s share at last, for no one will own it 
their due." 

Other sports of a less brutal nature characterized this 
day. The game of football was at one time common not 
only among the London apprentices but in all the Nor- 
thern counties of England. We are told that even so 
lately as the end of the eighteenth century the town-waits 
used to go playing to Alnwick Castle every Shrove 
Tuesday at two o'clock, p. m. when a football was thrown 
over the castle-wall for the amusement of the popu- 
lace. At Chester also the same sport must have once 
prevailed, for King in his Vale Royal of England (p. 194) 
says that at the city of Chester in the year 1533 "the 
ofiferings of ball and foot-ball were put down, and the 
silver bell offered to the maior on Shrove Tuesday.** 

In Cumberland there was a custom^ according to 
Hutchinson, which we do not remember to have heard 
of as occurring elsewhere. He says in his history of 


that country. ''Till within the last twenty or thirty 
years it had been a custom, time out of mind, for the 
scholars of the free school of Bromfield about the be- 
ginning of Lent, or, in the more expressive phrase- 
ology of the country, at Fasting's Even, to bar out the ♦ 
master, i. e. to depose and exclude him from his school, 
and keep him out for three days. During the period 
of this expulsion, the doors of the citadel, the school, 
were strongly barricadoed within 5 and the boys, who de- 
fended it like a beseiged city, were armed in general 
with borC'tree, or elder pop-guns. The master mean- 
while made various eflForts, both by force and stratagem 
to regain his lost authority. If be succeeded, heavy tasks 
were imposed, and the business of the school was re- 
sumed and submitted to -, but it more commonly hap- 
pened that he was repulsed and defeated. After three 
days' siege, terms of capitulation were proposed by the 
master and accepted by the boys. These terms were 
summed up in an old formula of Latin Leonine verses 
stipulating what hours and times should for the year 
ensuing be allotted to study, and what to relaxation 
and play. Securities were provided by each side for the 
due performance of these stipulations, and the paper 
was then solemnly signed both by master and scholars. 
The whole was concluded by a festivity, and a treat of 
cakes and ale furnished by the scholars. 

'' One of the articles, always stipulated for and granted, 
was the privilege of immediately celebrating certain 
games of long standing, viz. : foot-ball match and a 
cock-fight. Captains, as they were called, were then 
chosen to manage and preside over these games; one 
from that part of the parish which lay to the westward 
of the school ; 4,he other from the east. Cocks and foot- 
ball players were sought for with great diligence. The 
party, whose cocks won the most battles, was held as 


victorious in the cock-pit ; and the prize^ a small silver 
bell, suspended to the button of the victor's hat, and 
worn for three successive Sundays. After the cock- 
fight was ended, the foot-ball was thrown down in the 
y church-yard ; and the point, then to be contested, was 
which party could carry it to the house of his respective 
captain — to Dundraw perhaps, or West-Newton, a dis- 
tance of two or three miles, every inch of which ground 
was keenly disputed. All the honour accruing to the 
conqueror at foot-ball was that of possessing the ball. 
Details of these matches were the general topics of 
conversation among the villagers $ and were dwelt on 
with hardly less satisfaction than their ancestors enjoyed 
in relating their feats in the border wars." 

Before quitting this part of our subject it may be 
as well to add that the brutal custom of cock-fighting 
originated with the polished Athenians. Julian tells us 
in his Various History that the Athenians ordained cock- 
fighting should take place once a year in the public 
theatre, and he thus gives the origin of the custom : 
When Themistocles was leading the Greek forces against 
the Persians, he observed two game-cocks fighting by 
the way^ whereupon he brought the whole army to a 
halt and addressed them, saying, '' these birds are thus pe- 
rilling themselves, not for their country, nor for their 
Gods, nor for their ancestral heroes, nor for their children, 
but merely because neither will allow the superiority of 
the other."* This pithy speech and example confirmed 
the courage of his soldiers, and he wished therefore 
that the thing should be held in perpetual remembrance. 
However we may feel disposed to doubt this pretty 
fable as to the actual origin of the custom, it is yet a 
sufiicient testimony that it did at one time exist. 

fiut the peculiar feature of Shrove Tuesday was the 

• -ffiliani Var. Hist. Lib. 11— Cap. xxviii. 


frying and eating of pancakes^ a practice which Brand 
would fain derive from a kind of pancake feast that was 
used in the Greek Church just before Lent. How we 
were likely to have got it from such a quarter he does 
no attempt to explain, and the thing seems not a little 
improbable. It would appear much more likely that this, 
as well as the other cakes used on the feasts and par- 
ticular days of the year, was borrowed from a similar 
sort of offering amongst the Pagans, or else from the 
shew-bread of the Jews. Why the cake should be made 
in a pan, rather than baked in the usual way, is a 
mystery that we do not pretend to unravel. 

We have already alluded to the old custom of ringing 
in people to confession on Shrove-tide morning. When 
the Reformers abolished so much of the antient Roman 
Catholic rites they found themselves in the same difficulty 
as the early Christians, who, upon their faith becoming 
predominant over heathenism, were yet unable to alto- 
gether eradicate the old Pagan customs; in this case 
therefore, as in so many others, they imitated their 
Roman Catholic predecessors and what they could not 
entirely get rid of they converted as far as possible to 
their own purposes. Thus the bell continued to peal 
as it had been used, but to call people to pancake- 
eating instead of to confession, an instance of which 
we have at Newcastle-upon-Tyne where the great bell of 
Saint Nicholas' church is tolled at twelve o'clock at noon, 
when the shops are immediately shut up, offices closed, 
and all kinds of business cease, a little carneval ensuing 
for the rest of the day. In Leicestershire also, as we 
learn from Macauley's History and Antiquities of Clay- 
brook, ''a bell rings at noon, which is meant as a 
signal for the people to begin frying their pancakes.'' 
In York too they have a similar custom, as appears from 
a curious old tract, entitled, A Vindication of the Letter 


<nU of the North concerning Bishop Lake's Declaration, 
SfC, wherein the author says ''they have for a long 
time at York had a custom — ^which now challenges the 
privilege of a prescription — that all the apprentices, 
journeymen, and other servants of the town, had the 
liberty to go into the cathedral, and ring the Pancake- 
Bell, as we call it in the country, on Shrove Tuesday : 
and that being a time that a great many came out of the 
country to see the city (if not their friends) and church, 
to oblige the ordinary people the minster used to be 
left open that day to let them go up to see the lanthorn 
and bells, which were sure to be pretty well exercised, 
and was thought a more innocent divertisement than 
being at the ale-house. But Doctor Lake when he 
came first to reside there, was very much scandalized 
at this custom, and was resolved he would break it at 
first dash, although all his brethren of the clergy did 
dissuade him from it. He was resolved to make the 
experiment, for which he had like to have paid very dear, 
for I'le assure you it was very near costing him his life. 
However he did make such a combustion and mutiny, 
that I dare say York never remembered, nor saw the 
like, as many yet living can testify." 

Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, puts an end 
for a time to these wild doings, substituting as absurd 
a fast, in imitation of our Saviour's miraculous absti- 
nence for forty days. Originally the fast commenced 
on that which is now the first Sunday in Lent, and 
ended on Easter Day, but as this left only thirty-six days 
when the Sundays were deducted (upon the princi- 
ple that no Sunday can ever be a fast-day,) Pope Gregory 
added four days from the previous week, beginning 
with Ash Wsdnesday. The name of Ash Wednesday 
was derived from the ancient ceremony of blessing 
ashes at this season, with which the priest signed the 


people on the forehead in the form of a cross^ affording 
them withal this wholesome admonition^ ''Memento, 
homo, qu5d pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris/' — 
remember, O man, that thou art dust, and to dust 
shalt return. — The ashes thus used were made of the 
palms consecrated the Sunday twelvemonth before, and 
this ceremony, though in a modified form, survived the 
first shock of the Reformatibn, not being abandoned till 
about the year 1547-8, when, as Stow tells us, "the 
Wednesday following, commonly called Ash- Wednesday, 
the use of giving ashes in the church was also left 
throughout the whole citie of London.*' Prior to that 
time it had formed one of the ordinances of the Re- 
formed Church. 

At one period, after this solemn service the people 
used to renew some of their carneval fooleries, amongst 
which throwing at the Jack-a-Lent, as they had pre- 
viously done at the Shrove-tide cock, was one of 
the principal. This Jack-a-Lent was a puppet, and was 
likely enough to have been a substitute for the older 
custom of pelting the Jews with stones, which had at 
one time prevailed to mark the popular abhorence of 
their share in the crucifixion. As to the practice itself, 
our old dramatists abound in allusions to it, but it 
stands in no need of explanation. The fast obtained 
its name of lent from the season of the year, in which 
it was celebrated, lent, or lenten, in the old Saxon 
signifying " spring,*' the time when the days began to 
lengthen — lengthen-tide — which word has been corrupted 
into lenten, and lent. 

Using the poet's privilege of ending tragedy with a 
comic epilogue, I shall now conclude this account of 
February with Taylor's humorous derivation of the word 
Zjent; it is in a style that must have delighted Dean 
Swift had it ever come under his notice. " Now for 


the name and beginning of Lent/' he says, *' the word 
Lent doth signify a thing borrowed, for except a thing 
be borrowed how is it lent P and being lent, it follows 
by consequence that it was borrowed. But from whom 
it was so free of the loan of this Lent, that would 
be known. 

'' First then you must conceive that the true etimology, 
or ancient name of this Lent is Umtide, which being 
anagrammatized is Landit, for the chief provision that 
he is furnished withal being fish, and such sea-faring 
fare, that except he land it, there will be but cold takings 
in the fish-markets, for Jack-a-Lent hath no society, 
affinity, or propinquity with fiesh and blood, and by 
reason of his leanness — as Nymshay, an ancient Utopian 
philosopher, declares in his treatise of the Antiquity of 
gingerbread, (Lib. 7* Pag. 30,000) he should have been 
a footman." 

This grave banter fully equals the Dean's deriva- 
tion of Alexander the Great from all-eggs under the grate, 
for which, according to him, the world's conqueror had a 
singular predilection.* 

* " Alexander the Great was very fond of eggs roasted in hot 
ashes. As soon as his cooks heard he was come home to dinner 
or supper, they called aloud to their under-officers,— ai7 eggs under 
the grate, which repeated eyety day at noon and evening, made 
strangers think it was his real name, and therefore gave him no 
other, and posterity has been ever since under the same delusion." — 
Swiff 8 WorkSf vol. xiv. 

Nothing came amiss to Swift in the way of a joke, howerer 
coarse or foolish ; but it must be owned that the etymologists are 
often quite as ridiculous in earnest, as he is here in jest. • 




A BBLiBF in the cleansing and purifying virtues of human 
bloody but more especially in regard to lepers, appears 
to have existed in the remotest times. That it ppe- 
vailed amongst the Egyptians we know from Pliny, 
and the idea was evidently borrowed from them by 
Moses, although it became modified in his code, the 
blood of animals being substituted for that of human 
beings. The passage in the Roman naturalist is not only 
conclusive on this point, but it contains some curious 
matters in regard to the leprosy, which may make it 
worth while recalling it to the reader's recollection : 

'' Diximus elephantiasin ante Pompeii Magni statem 
non accidisse in Italiam, et ipsam a facie sspius incipien- 
tem in nare primum veluti lenticula ; mox increscente 
per totum corpus, maculosa, variis coloribus, et insquali 
cute, alibi crass&, alibi tenui> durft alibi^ ceu scabie 
asper£l; ad postremum vero nigrescente, et ad ossa 
carnes opprimente, intumescentibus digitis in pedibus 
manibusque. Mgypti peculiare hoc malum ; et quum 
in reges incidisset, populis ftinebre. Quippe in baUneis soUa 

BLOOD BATH3. ■* ' 73 

temperehantur humano sanguine ad medicinam" * It is thus 
quaintly rendered by old Philemon Holland. 

" As touching the white leprosie^ called Elephantiasis, 
(according as I have before shewed) it was not seen 
in Italie before the time of Pompey the Great. This 
disease also began for the most part in the face j and 
namely it tooke the nose first, where it put forth a little 
specke or pimple no bigger than a small lentill) but 
soone after as it spread farther and ran over the whole 
bodie, a man should perceive the skin to be pointed and 
spotted with divers and sundrie colours, and the same 
uneven, bearing one higher in one place than another, 
thicke here but thin there, and hard everywhere, rough 
also like as if a scurfe or scab overran it, untill in the 
end it would grow to be blackish, bearing down the 
flesh flat to the bones, whiles the Angers of the handes 
and toes of the feet were puffed up and swelled againe. 
A peculiar malady is this and natural to the Egyptians -, 
but looke when any of their kings fell into it, woe worth 
the subjects and poore people, 'for then were the tubs 
and bathing vessels, wherein they sate in the baine, (i,e, bath) 
filled with men's blood for their cure* " 

But the remedial powers of human blood were not 
supposed to be confined to cases of leprosy alone 3 it 
was a medicine of universal application, a fancy which 
in all probability grew out of some vague notion that the 
vital principle resided in this fluid. " Sanguinis,'' says 
Pliny ''ipsius hominis^ ex quacumque emisso, efficacis- 
sime anginam illini tradunt Orpheus et Archelaus ; item 
ora comitiali morbo lapsorum 3 exsurgere enim protinus. 
Quidam, si pollices pedum pungantur exque his guttae 
referantur in faciem.'* t 

'* Orpheus and Archelaus both doe affirme that if the 
squinansy (i.e. quinsy) be anointed with man or woman's 

• C. Plini Natur. Hist. Lib.xxTiij. c. 5. f Id.Lib. xxviy. c. 10. 


bloody — it skillet h not out of what veine or part of the 
bodie it issued — it is an excellent remedie for that dis- 
ease. The like effect it hath, if their mouths be rubbed 
with the said blood, who being overtaken with the epi- 
lepsie, are falne downe, for immediately thereupon they 
will rise and stand upon their feet. Some write that 
if the great toes be pricked untill they bleed againe, 
the drops that come forth worke the like effect in the 
falling sicknesse, so that the face of the patient be sprink- 
led or besmeared therewith." 

But the most singular part of the story, as it seems to 
us, is the fact that while the Jewish lawgiver imparted 
a sacrificial virtue to the blood of animals, the Ro- 
mans should have adopted a belief the very reverse. Ac- 
cording to the Pagan theory, as handed down to us 
by Pliny, the blood of horses is venomous, and that of 
bulls is no better, except at ^gira, a city of Achaia, 
though why this spot should be an exception to the ge- 
neral rule he does not inform us. Goat's blood also he 
denounces, and adds that it is so strong nothing in the 
world will sharpen the edge of an iron tool sooner, or har- 
den it when keen, and that it will polish steel better than 
any file. 

If however this diversity of opinitvn be a legitimate 
cause for wonder, we have still greater reason to be sur- 
prised at finding that the Christians in the middle ages 
adopted the Pagan rather than the Jewish belief. The 
Emperor Constantine, it is true, was restrained from using 
this revolting remedy in consequence of a vision, and is 
said to have been cured by baptism, but the use of the 
blood-bath seems to have been by far too common both 
in ancient times and in the middle ages. Amidst a mass 
of fables the germs of truth are sufficiently evident, and 
in the time of the great leprosy this belief must have 
given occasion to numberless cruelties, more especially 


as children and maidens were the objects of it^ a class 
the least likely to be able to escape from the sacrifice 
demanded of them. After a time however it received a 
check from an opinion gradually gaining ground that 
only the blood of those would be efficacious^ who of- 
fered themselves freely and voluntarily for a beloved 
sufferer. The idea of quoting poetry in support of 
historical f^ct may to many seem ridiculous, but 
the ballads of ancient times are for the most part 
modelled upon the customs and feelings of the age in 
which they were written ; they were songs of the peo- 
ple and to the people^ the records of the world about 
them, and we feel no hesitation in adducin g Armer Hein- 
rich* — Poor Hepry — in proof of the popular notions 
period. It is one of the most beautiful poems of 
the thirteenth century, and in its simple and antique 
phraseology strongly reminds us of the old English bal- 
lads. The outlines of the story are nearly as follows. 
A Swabian knight^ who possesses wealth, rank, and fame, 
all in short that can make life desirable, is on the sud- 
den seized with leprosy. In order to escape the civil 
death, which was one of the terrible results of this dis- 
ease, he roams through the world in the hope of some- 
where finding a remedy, and Montpelier being in those 
days famous for its physicians, it is there that he first seeks 
assistance. They pronounce his case to be beyond their 
art, and he then repairs to Salerno^ where he is made 
acquainted with the apparently hopeless means of cure — 
namely that he should bathe in the blood of some 
child, or of some virgin, who shall submit to be a wil- 
ling sacrifice. Sad at heart, he returns home, with the 
conviction that such terms of cure leave him no hope, and 
he therefore prepares himself to sorrow out the re- 
mainder of his days in solitude. It is now that a girl 

• Written by Hartman Von der Aue, 

B 2 


only twelve years old, the daughter of a^ countryman^ 
conceives a passion for the knight while attending upon 
him, and accidentally hearing of this free*will oflfering de- 
termines to become his sacrifice. Henry, struck by the 
poor creature's attachment, at first refuses to avail himself 
of it, but her devotion is proof against all persuasions, and 
they set out together for Salerno.* The fatal catas- 
trophe, however, is averted by the knight's recovery 
through other means, and in requital for so much love 
he gives his band to the maiden in marriage. 

The story of Amicus a nd Amelius is another fable of 
the same kind ; and there is a similar tale related of Louis 
XI. having a mind to avoid his approaching death by 
drinking the blood of young children. This monarch's 
incessant and puerile dread of death is matter of history, 
and availing himself of this weakness, his physician, the 
notorious Jacques Cotier, or Coythier, kept the tyrant in 

* Salerno, the ancient Salernum, was celebrated so early as the eighth 
century for its medical institution, which was established by the Bene- 
dictines. In those dark ages the cures were supposed to be chiefly 
effected by help of the holy rellques of Saint Matthew, who was the 
tutelar saint of their monastery, and who thus acquired the credit, 
which modern heresy would attribute to the healthy situation of the 
town, for it is sheltered by mountains behind, while it faced the sea 
towards the south. In addition to these advantages, the water is 
remarkable for purity, and the country around is rich in medicinal 
herbs and plants, of which the monks had no doubt a practical 
knowledge, though we can hardly allow them the possession of 
science. Hence it became a custom for InTalides of wealth and 
rank to pilgrimage thither for the recovery of their health, the first 
we have on record being Adalberon, archbishop of Verdun, whose 
visit occurred in the year 984. In after times Salerno acquired yet 
greater celebrity from the concourse of crusaders, who found it a 
convenient resting-place in their journey to and from the East, and 
by degrees the practice of medicine assumed a more scientific form, 
though it was still darkened by a multitude of absurdities. Spreng el 
in his admirable work — Fersuch einer progmatischen Gesckiehte 
der Arzneykunde — gives a history of this school and its professors. 


subjection, getting from him enormous suras^ besides 
causing him to amply provide for his friends and relations. 
*' Je sais bien, luidit il quelquefois^ que vous m'envoyerez 
comme vous faites d'autres, mais — par un grand serment 
qu'il jurait— vous ne vivrez point huit jours apres."— 
*' I know well/' he would sometimes say, " that you will 

get rid of me as you have done <5f others, but *' and 

here he swore a solemn oath — '' you will not live eight 
days afterwards." This incident, as the reader will 
probably well remember, has been transferred by Sir 
W. Scott, in Quentin Durward^ to Martius Galeotti the 
astrologer to the same monarch, and who in fact has 
many other points of resemblance to Coythier. 

The account given of the last hours of Louis XI. by 
the historian Gaguin bears sufficient testimony to the fact 
of the blood-drink, and though the historian has been 
justly reproached for his excessive credulity on many occa- 
sions, there seems to be no reason for doubting him here 
when all he asserts is so consonant to the prejudices of 
the age and the peculiar character of the monarch. 
As the whole scene is exceedingly curious in itself, as 
well as illustrative of our subject, we shall give a free 
version of a portion of it, which is in old French and the 
black letter.* *' King Louis had no rest from his malady, 
and felt himself growing weaker and weaker every day, 
so that the fear of death encreased upon him, for no 
one was more desirous of life than he was. Nevertheless 
providing for his end he caused himself to be carried to 
Amboise, to which place having summoned his son, 
Charles, he said. My dear son, I am nearer to my end 
than you imagine -, my disorder incessantly torments me, 
and no medicine affords any relief. You will reign 
after me, for the which you will find loyal servants the 
most essential. Amongstt many whose faith and dili- 

* G^Gmn^^Croniguea de France. Fueillet. ccij. Folio, 1516. 


gence I have experienced I particularly recommend 
two men to you, that is to say, Oliver le Dain and Jean 
de Doyat^ for of the services of Oliver I have had the 
greatest use ; take him after me into your service^ and 
allow none of the goods or offices he has acquired from me 
to be taken from him. Gui Pot* and Bouchage, you will 
esteem as prudent men and of good counsel. In regard 
to Philip D'EsquerdeSy doubt not he is skilful in all mili- 
tary matters, and therefore, when the war breaks out, make 
use of his prudence and moderation. All the others 
that have dignity and offices from me, I wish that you 
should confirm and entertain them. Relieve as much 
as you can the people, whom I have ground down by the 
necessity of war. Do not trust to your mother, for 
being of Savoy she has always seemed to me to favour 
the Burgundians. Otherwise, that is to say as to the 
rest of her qualities, I have always esteemed her good 
and virtuous." After having spoken thus, Louis returned 
to Tours where, thinking to relieve his disorder by music, 
he ordered all manner of instrumentalists to be brought 
together, and it is said that they amounted to one hundred 
and twenty. Amongst them were shepherds, and they 
played for many days by the king's chamber, that he 
might not yield to the sleepiness which oppressed him.f 
But besides this class of people he summoned to him 

** Ouy Pot was the Baily of Vennandois, and D'Esqnerdes was a 
soldier of distinguished conduct and valour. 

t Pere Daniel in his '' Histoire de France," (vol. yii. p. 640) tells 
us that in addition to these amusements, as the king could no longer 
go to the chase, of which he was passionately fond, they took the 
largest rats they could find and hunted them in his chamber with cats 
for his amusement. The same authority also relates the before- 
mentioned story of Cotier — whom he calls Ck>ctier — terrifjring the king 
into compliance with all his wishes by swearing that he would not 
outlive him eight days. But indeed, tyrant as Louis was by nature, 
he seems to have been kept in abject submission by tbis man, and his 
worthy coat^utors, Olirier le Dain and Jean Doiac, or Doyat. ^ 


Others of a very different kind^ men dwelling in soli- 
tudes and in hermitages^ with those who were greatly 
in the renown of sanctity. Likewise there came to Tours 
women of excellent devotion^ who were commanded to 
pray to Heaven incessantly^ that it would restore health 
to the king and grant him longer life« so anxious was 
he not to quit this world. I imagine/' says the his- 
torian, " he foresaw the troubles which the lust of rule 
would give rise to after his death." 

Ambassadors now came to Louis from Flanders and 
Brabant^ and his son Charles V. was betrothed to Mar- 
guerite, the daughter of Maximilian, but his disorder 
still grew upon him 5 and in this year, 1443, *' implor- 
ing high and low the aid of God and man, he com- 
manded that they should bring to Tours the sacred liquor, 
which it is said was sent from Heaven to anoint King 
Clovis in his city of Rheims. Besides this he had from 
the holy chapel at Paris the rod of the high priest Aaron, 
which many affirm'* — the historian himself is modest — 
" to have been divinely given to Charlemagne. But 
there was nothing that could put off the appointed 
hour. Every day he grew worse and worse, and the 
medicines profited him nothing, though of a strange 
character, for he vehemently hoped to recover by the 
human blood which he drank and swallowed from certain 

children. But he died at Tours'* which from 

the tone of the historian would seem a greater miracle 
^han the idea of such a horrible mode of cure. 

It may perhaps add little to our faith in the former 
use of the blood-bath that Klinger has employed it to 
heighten the horrors of his Faust; but when we find 
the learned Sprengel giving credit to it, in addition 
to what has been already said, it seems absurd to deny 
the existence of a custom the belief in which has been 
so universal. 



Much has been written of late years knowingly and 
unknowingly about the Gypsies; but^ strange to say, Dek- 
ker*s satirical account of them seems to have escaped 
observation, though the pamphlet from which the fol- 
lowing extract is taken is far from being uncommon. 
Making every reasonable allowance for the exaggera- 
tions of a professed satirist, — and Dekker like lago was 
" nothing if not cynical'* — there seems to be no ground 
for doubting that his picture of the vices and follies of 
his age was in the main true. As such it is presented to 
the reader^ with the omission only, or softening down, 
of a few phrases here and there, which were manifestly 
too coarse for the present taste. 

'^A Moon-Man signifies in English a madman because 
the moon hath greatest domination, above any other 
planet, over the bodies of frantic persons. But these 
Moon-Men, whose images are now to be carved, are 
neither absolutely mad nor yet perfectly in their wits. 
Their name they borrow from the moon, because the 
moon is never in one shape two nights together but wan- 
ders up and down Heaven like an antic^ so these change- 


able stuff companions never tarry one day in a place but 
are the only base runagates upon earth. And as in the 
moon there is a man^ that never stirs without a bush of 
thorns at his back^ so these Moon-Men lie under bushes, 
and are indeed no better than hedge>creepers. They are 
a people more scattered than Jews, and more hated, 
beggarly in apparel, barbarous in condition, and beastly 
in behaviour, and bloody if they meet advantage. A man, 
that sees them, would swear they had all the yellow 
jaundice; or that they were tawny Moors* bastards, 
for no red-oaker man carries a face of a more filthy com- 
plexion 'j yet are they not born so, neither hath the sun 
burnt them so, but they are painted so ; yet they are not 
good painters neither, for they do not make faces, but 
mar faces. By a bye^name they are called Gypsies; 
they call themselves Egyptians ; others in mockery call 
them Moon-Men, If they be Egyptian, sure I am they 
never descended from any of the tribes of those people 
that came out of the land of Egypt ; Ptolemy, King 
of the Egyptians, I warrant, never called them his 
subjects, no nor Pharaoh before him. Look, what differ- 
ence there is between a civil citizen of Dublin and a wild 
kerne, so much difference there is between one of these 
counterfeit Egyptians and a true English beggar. An 
English rogue is just of the same livery. They are com- 
monly an army about fourscore strong, and they never 
march with all their bags and baggages together, but 
like boot-halers* they forage up and down countries, 
four, five, or six in a company. As the Switzer has his 
wench and his cock when he goes to the wars, so these 
vagabonds have their women, with a number of little 

• A " Boot-haler " is a robber f or plunderer , and is so explained 
both by Cotgrave and in the Lexicon Tetraglotton. "Butineur" 
says Cotgraye, " a hoot-hdler^ pillager *' — and in the Tetraglotton we 
haye ** Boot-haler, StUineurj Predatore, 

B 5 


children at their heeles^ which young brood of beggars 
are sometimes carryed — like so many greene geese alive 
to a market in paires of paniers^ or in dossers like 
fresh fish from Rye that comes on horse-back — if they be 
but infants, but if they can straddle once, then as well 
she- rogues as he« rogues are horst, seven or eight upon 
one jade, strongly pineoned and strangely tied together. 

'^One shire alone^ and no more, is sure still at one 
time to have these Egyptian vermin" — vermin is not exactly 
Dekker s word — ''swarming within it, for like flocks of 
wild geese they will evermore flye one after another ^ 
let them be scattered worse than the quarters of a 
traytor are after he*s hanged, drawne, and quartered, 
yet they have a trick, like water cut with a sword, to 
come together instantly and easily againe; and this is 
their policici which way soever the foremost ranks lead, 
they stick up small boughs in several places to every 
village where they passe, which serve as ensigns to 
wait on the rest. 

" Their apparell is odd and flint astick, though it be 
never so full of rents. The men wear scarves of calico, or 
any other loose stuff, hanging [about] their bodies, like 
Morice dancers, with bells and other toys^ to entice the 
country people to flock about them to wonder at their 
fooleries, or rather rank knaveries. The women as ridi- 
culously attire themselves, and wear rags and patched 
filthy mantles uppermost when the undergarments are 
handsome and in fashion. 

''The battles these outlaws make are many and very 
bloody. Whosoever falls into their hands never escapes 
alive, and so crjuel they are in these murthers that nothing 
can satisfy them but the very heart-blood of those whom 
they kill. And who are they, think you, that thus go 
to the pot ? — alas ! innocent lambs, sheep, calves, pigs, 
&c. Poultry-ware are more churlishly handled by them 


than poor prisoners are by keepers in the Counter in 
the Poultry. A goose coming amongst them learns to 
be wise, that he will never be goose any more. The 
bloody tragedies of all these are only acted by the women^ 
who carrying long knives^ or skeanes^ under their man- 
tles^ do thus play their parts. The stage is some large 
heath or furze-bush common far from any houses^ upon 
which^ casting themselves into a ring^ they enclose the 
murdered till the massacre be finished. If any pas- 
senger come by^ and wondering to see such a conjuring 
circle kept by hell-hounds^ and demand what spirits 
they raise there, one of the murderers steps to hLm, 
poisons him with sweet words, and shifts him off with 
this lie that one of the women are fallen in labour; but 
if any mad Hamlet, bearing this, smells villainy, and rush 
in by violence to see what the tawny divels are doing, 
then they excuse the fact, lay the blame upon those 
that are actors, and perhaps (if they see no remedy) 
deliver them to an officer to be had to punishment ; 
but by the way a rescue is surely laid ; and very valiantly, 
though very villainously, do they fetch them off and 
guard them. 

" The cabins where these land-pirates lodge in the 
night are the outbarns of farmers and husbandmen, in 
some poor village or other, who dare not deny them for 
fear they should ere morning have their thatched houses 
burning about their ears $ and these barns are both their 
cook rooms, their supping- parlours, and their bed-cham- 
bers, for there they dress after a beastly manner whatso- 
ever they purchased* after a thievish fashion. Some- 
times they eat venison and have greyhounds that kill it 
for them, but if they had not, they are hounds themselves 
and are damnable hunters after flesh. 

" Upon days of pastime and liberty they spread them- 

• " Purchased," i. e. ttole. 


selves in small companies amongst the villages^ and when 
young maids and bachelors — ^yea sometimes old doting 
fools that should be beaten * to this world of villainie» 
and forewarn others — do flock about them, they then 
profess skill in palmistry, and forsooth can tell fortunes, 
which for the most part are infallibly true, by reason 
that they work upon rules which are grounded upon 
certainty ; for one of them will tell you that you shall 
shortly have some evil luck fall upon you, and within half 
an hour after you shall have your pocket picked, or your 
purse cut. These are those Egyptian grasshoppers that 
eat up the fruits of the earth and destroy the poor corn- 
fields. To sweep these swarms out of this kingdom there 
are no other means but the sharpness of the most infa- 
mous and basest kinds of punishment ; for if the ugly 
body of this monster be suffered to grow and fatten itself 
with mischiefs and disorders, it will have a neck so 
sinewy and so brawny that the arm of the law will have 
much ado to strike off the head, sithence eVery day the 
members of it encrease, and it gathers new joints and 
new forces by priggers,t anglers, J cheaters9§ yeomen ^s 
daughters — that have taken some by-blows, and to avoid 
shame, fall into their sin — and other servants, both men 
and maids, that have been pilferers, with all the rest of 
that damned regiment, marching together in the first 
army of the BelmanW, who running away from their own 

* ** Beaten," i. e. ttsedf accustomed to. 

f Thieyes. { Pilferers, petty thieves. § Sharpers. 

II An allusion to another pamphlet of Dekker's, called the *^ Bel- 
m£ln of London/* in which, to use his own phraseology, he ^* brings 
to light the most notorious yUlanies that are now practiced in the 
kingdom." Indeed he seems to have taken a strange pleasure in 
diving into every gutter and fishing up thence all the filth pos- 
sible. This may certainly have proceeded from a high moral sense 
and it is chaiitable to believe so, yet I can hardly help suspecting 
that there was at least as much love of the subject as love of morality 


colours^ which are bad enough^ serve under these, being 
the worst. Lucifer's launceprisades,* that stand aloof to 
behold the musterings of these hell-hounds, took delight 
to see them double their files so nimbly, but held it no 
policy to come near them ; for the divell himself durst 
scarce have done that. Away therefore he gallops, know- 
ing that at one time or other they would all come to fetch 
their pay where it was due." — English ViUanies, Eight Se- 
veraVTimes Prest to Death by the Printers. Sig. E, 3. 

in the selection. One is tempted, moreoyer, to put the same ques- 
tion in his case, as well as in that of Juyenal, that Mrs. Frail put to 
her sister, when reproached with her bodkin having been found a t 
the World's End, ** Sister, sister, how came you to find it there ?*' 

* LauncepesadOf Launcepresado, or Launceprisade, is explained by 
Minshew to be ** one that commands over ten soldiers, the lowest 
officer in a band of Footmen." 




The use of Crosses was exceedingly various in the olden 
time ', hence no little confusion has arisen^ and there ap- 
pears to be some reason for concluding that they were 
not always of the same form or of the same material^ but 
that these varied according to the purpose for which 
they were designed. They were often employed to mark 
the spot where any singular instance of God's mercy had 
been shown ; and yet more frequently as a memorial of 
the traveller murdered by robbers^ or of any one who had 
met with a violent deaths and who^ from his rank in life 
or the peculiar circumstances of the case^ excited a more 
than usual interest. They were also erected where the 
corpse of any great personage had rested when being 
carried to the grave^ for in those days the dead were pro- 
digious travellers^ and we often find them removing more 
than once or twice from what in their case would be erro- 
neously called the final resting place. One object of these 
rests was that the bystanders and attendants might pray for 
the soul of the departed. Occasionally Crosses were erected 
in churchyards^ to remind the people of the benefit vouch- 
safed tous by the Cross of our Saviour -, and in yet earlier 


times they were raised at most places of public concourse, 
or at the meeting of three or four highways. At these 
Crossesit was customary for mendicants to station them- 
selves, and solicit charity for Christ's sake ; whence they say 
in the north of England, when a person has been extremely 
urgent, " he begged like a cripple at a Cross.'* Penances 
were very commonly finished at Crosses ; and as this was 
attended with weeping and the usual marks of contrition, 
they were commonly called Weeping Crosses, To this cir- 
cumstance many allusions are made in our elder drama- 
tists, the phrase generally assuming the form, that the 
person spoken of '' would end at Weeping Cross," meaning 
of course that his conduct would end in vexation and re- 
pentance. Thus in the old comedy of Eastward Hoe 
— '' My daughter, his ladie, was sent Eastward by land to 
a castle of his i* the aire (in what region I know not), and, 
as I heare, was glad to take up her lodging in her coach« 
she and her two waiting women, her maide, and her mo- 
ther, like three snailes in a shel, and the coachman a top 
on *hem, I thinke. Since, they have all found the way 
backe againe by Weeping Cross.** — Eastward Hoe, Sig. 
F. 3. 




On no subject is Dekker more vehement than the abuses 
of ale-houses ; and to judge from his account, this crying 
evil of our own days existed to the same extent in the 
time of our forefathers. His satire is curious too from 
the hints of old customs scattered throughout it, and for 
which we should in vain seek for an explanation else- 
where. What follows is the most important part of a 
whole chapter upon this subject, and in his own words : — 
''Not to meddle with the acts and statutes of all our 
former kings, what did King James, anno 1, against these 
exorbitants ? It was then enacted, that whereas the an- 
cient, true, and principall use of innes, ale-houses^ and 
victualing houses, was for the receipt, reliefe, and lodg- 
ing, of way-fayring people, to supply the wants of such 
as are not able by greater quantities to make their pro- 
visions of victualls, and not to harbour idle fellowes to 
consume their money and time in drunkennesse 3 it was 
therefore enacted that for every offence committed by any 
innekeeper, ale-house keeper, or victualer, they should 
forfeit ten shillings to the use of the poore. If these for- 
feits were truely paid, as they are truely made, the poore 
in some parish would be as merry as the rich. 


" But now^ for all this act, and for all the other sta- 
tutes for the same purpose established sioce^ how many 
parishes in England^ how many in and about London, 
especially throughout all the suburbs^ doe like ilands 
swim as it were in hot waters, strong beere, and head- 
strong ale ! For to such a height is this sinne of drinking 
growne, that coblers, tinkers, pedlers, porters, all trades, 
all professions, sit tippling all day, all night, singing, 
dancing — when they can stand — laughing, cursing, swear- 
ing, fighting. 

" A whole street is in some places but a continuous ale- 
house ; not a shop to be seen between a red lattice and a 
red lattice ; * no workers but all drinkers ; not a trades- 
man at his occupation, for every tradesman keeps in that 
place an ale-house. It is an easier life, a lazier life, a 
trade more gainful 3 no such commings in as those of the 
tap, insomuch that in most of the suburbian outroads the 
best men there that command the reste — the Grand Sig- 
nors of the parish, as constables, head-boroughs, and 
other officers — are common ale-house keepers 3 and he 
that can lay in most guylesf of beere, and be furnished 

* That is, between ale-house and ale-houee. Erery reader of Shak- 
speare must recollect the way in which FalstafTs page describes the 
red nose of Bardolph. — " He called me even now, my Lord, through 
a red lattice^ and I could see no part of his face from the window.*' 
The indefatigable Malone and Douce have multiplied instances of the 
use of lattices painted red in ale-houses, and hence it often came to 
signify the ale-house itself, from its being in a manner peculiar to 
them. The most explicit instance of this kind, that I remember to 
have met with, is in " The Christmas Ordinary," by W. R., a Pri- 
vate Show, as the author calls it, but in fact a sort of Masque. 

" Where Red Lattice doth shine, 
Tis an outward sign 

Good Ale is a Traffic within ;] 
It will drown your woe, 
And thaw the old snow 
That grows on a frosty chin." Scene 5. 
t "Guyles"— i-e.^i^fe. 


with the strongest ale, and headiest liquors^ carryes the 
bucklers away from all his fellowes.* 

" Now because the fashion of downright blowes in the 
Ignoble schoole of drinking is growne stale^ wickedness 
has invented new sorts of weapons to bewitch men — that 
love such kind of play — to goe reeling to destruction. In 
some places they hare little Jacks t tipt with silver^ and 
hung with small silver bells — ^these are called the Gyngle 
Boys — to ring peales of drunkenness. In other places 
they have shallow brown bowles, which they call Whiskms. 
Then you have another brewing, caird Huff's Ale, at 
which, because no man must have but a pot at a sitting 
and so begone, the restraint makes men more eager to 
come on, so that by this policie one may kuffe it foure or 
five times a day. 

" These quafiings hurt thousands, and undoe many 
poore men, who would all follow their labours, but now 
live in beggary 5 their wives — unlesse they tipple hard 
too, as for the most part they doe by their evill examples* 
— starving at home, and their ragged children begging 
abroad. Then in some places instead of full quarts they 
have jugs of a pint and a halfe, with long necks embroyd- 
cred, with froth cans not a wine pint for a penny 5 demy- 
cans, of draughts X a piece ; and a device of six earthen 
pipes, or hollow funnells, all into one, every funnell hold- 
ing two spoonfuUs." English Villanies, bl. 1. sig, J. 3. 

* It would appear from this allusion, as well as from so many 
others in the old dramatists, that in the fight with bucklers, the buck- 
lers themselres were considered the prize of victory. Thus to ** give 
up the bucklers '' or to ** lay down the bucklers/' was to yieldf as to 
** bear away the bucklers'' was to win. Steevens in his notes on 
Shakspeare has accumulated a multitude of illustrative passages* 

t Jackf or Black JacAr«,^pitchers of leather so called. 

t i* e. containing as much as would be taken off at an ordinary 
draughts ^ 



One of the most beautiful tales of classic romance is that 
of Cupid and Psyche as narrated in the *' Golden Ass of 
Apuleius." It has been borrowed by romancers of all 
times and cbuntries^ though without ever having been im- 
proved, and may in a measure be said to be the founda- 
tion of half the fairy tales. The prohibition of Cupid and 
the transgression of Psyche have suggested the serpentine 
vest of Madame D'Aulnoy, to say nothing of '* Gracieuse 
and Percinet/* which has evidently been derived from the 
same source. The whole story has also been beautifully 
versified by Marino in his poem, " L' Adone," as well as 
been imitated by Fontaine, and dramatized by Moliere ; at 
least a dramatic piece upon that subject appears in his 
works, being the same that was celebrated with so much 
magnificence at Paris in 1670, and which according to 
some was the joint production of Moliere, Comeille, Qui- 
nault, and Lulli, though the last in all probability had no 
farther share in it than setting the words to music. 

But this story has yet earlier imitators, or else it was 
itself borrowed from the East, for we find something very 
like it in the "Three Calenders** and in others of the Per- 
sian Tales. The romancers too laid hands upon a fable 


SO much in harmony with this taste, and have left us a 
striking resemblance to it in the old fabliaux of '^ Parten- 
opex de Blois." That the reader^ who is unacquainted 
with the original^ may be enabled to judge for himself 
how far these several assertions are correct, I will now 
give an abridgment of it, retaining as far as may be the 
peculiar tone and colouring, though not the precise lan- 
guage of Apuleius. 

There was a certain king in the West, who had three 
daughters, all remarkable for beauty, but the youngest 
excelled her sisters, as much as they excelled all other 
women. Such indeed was her loveliness that strangers 
came from the farthest lands but to look upon her, and 
having once beheld her incomparable beauty they wor- 
shipped and reverenced her with divine adorations accord- 
ing to the olden rites. Hence it happened that the tem- 
ples of Venus fell into neglect ; Paphos was deserted ; 
no worshippers visited Cithera 3 whereupon the goddess 
grew indignant, and, resolving to be revenged, she called 
her son, Cupid, and having shown him where Psyche 
dwelt, — for so was the maiden called — she passionately 
entreated him that he would cause her to fall in love with 
the most wretched object possible. 

While Venus was thus plotting with her son, poor 
Psyche, honoured as she was on all hands, yet reaped very 
little advantage from her beauty. Her two sisters had 
been long wedded to kings, while no one, noble or ig- 
noble, offered to marry herself, but all were content rather 
to admire her as they might have admired s, beautiful 
statue. The maiden was disconsolate ; her father was 
no less so, and suspecting that some of the Gods were as 
usual at the bottom of this mischief, he resolved to con- 
sult the oracle of Apollo at Miletus. The customary sa- 
crifices being paid, the God, although he was an Ionian, 
because of the Milesian founder, did yet think proper to 


reply in Latin, the substance of his answer being that 
" Psyche should be placed in mourning weeds upon the 
top of a high rock, for she must not expect a mortal 
husband, but a cruel serpent, who flew on wings above 
the skies, and was the terror of the Gods themselves." 
Infinite was the grief of the king at this oracle, but as 
there seemed to be no help for it, he was obliged to sub- 
mit, and in this he was farthermore encouraged by Psyche 
herself 5 she was not a little curious to see her promised 
husband, besides that she felt flattered by the enmity of 
Venus, to whom she attributed this evil, since it was an 
acknowledgment of her superior beauty. In this frame 
of mind she was carried to the appointed rock, and there 
left alone to meet her destiny. And now was seen 
wonder; the breezes began to blow gently about her, 
and lifting her up as it were upon their wings they gently 
laid her down in the valley below amidst the flowers. 
Then sleep fell upon her, and when the maiden again 
awoke it was with a calm and placid mind, and she found 
that she was sweetly couched in the midst of a pleasant 
grove, through which ran a stream as clear as crystal. 
At the farther end, by the fall of the rivef) was a princely 
edifice, not builded by the hands of man, but fashioned 
by divine art. You would judge at the first entry therein 
that it was the dwelling of some God, for the roof was of 
citron- wood and ivory supported by pillars of gold, the 
walls were cased in silver, and the pavement was com- 
posed of precious stones, forming various pictures, so that 
blessed, and thrice blessed, were they who might tread 
upon such a floor. Yea, all around was as bright as day 
from the glittering of fiery gems that shot forth a splen- 
dour equal to that of the sun when he is at the highest. 

Captivated by a scene so brilliant, Psyche did not long 
hesitate to enter, and her admiration encreased with every 
moment, when suddenly a gentle voice was heard, saying, 


— '' Why, O maiden, do you marvel at these riches ? they 
are all thine ; wherefore, go you into yon chamber, and 
repose yourself on the couch, and demand what bath you 
desire. We, whose voices you hear, are your servants, 
ready to minister to your wishes, and when you have re- 
covered from your fatigue a regal feast is prepared for 

Psyche did as the voice said to her, and having bathed 
and refreshed herself she sate down to a banquet, which 
was brought in by no hands, but wafted ns it were by the 
wind. Then came the sound of music, but though it 
seemed as if multitudes played and sang, yet still she saw 
no one. So too, with the lover who has prepared all 
these delights for her gratification ; unseen he woos and 
weds her, and at the dawn of day he again departs with- 
out her having once looked upon her new husband. 

And thus it happened for a long time. Custom, as is 
usual, recommended novelty, and the sound of that sweet 
invisible voice was the delight of her solitude. In the 
meantime her parents grew old in sorrow -, and the fame 
of her abduction, spreading far and wide, came at length 
to the ears of her sisters, who hereupon left their own 
homes that they might console and comfort their parents. 

The same night Psyche's invisible husband thus ad- 
dressed her—'* My best and dearest wife, a great danger 
threatens you whereof I earnestly warn you to beware. 
Know that your sisters, grieving for your loss and track- 
ing your footsteps, have now come to the mountain ; but 
if you should hear their lamentations, take heed you nei- 
ther answer nor show yourself to them, for if you do, you 
will cause infinite grief to me, and destruction to your- 

Psyche promised obedience to the bests of her lord and 
husband, but when he had again departed from her at the 
break of morning, she began to weary of her solitude and 


to lament that she might not see^ and converse with, her 
dear sisters. So great was her trouble that she neither 
ate> nor drank, nor entered into the bath, but wept bitterly 
throughout the live-long day, till the hour arrived for her 
to go to bed. Then came her husband, and finding her 
in tears, he tenderly reproached her, saying, '' Is it thus 
you keep your promise, my dear Psyche ? Go to then -, 
do as you list ; obey the impulse that is leading you to 
destruction, but when it is too late remember you of my 
words." But Psyche would not be persuaded, and ceased 
not from her entreaties till she had wrung from him per- 
mission to see her sisters. Unwillingly as he yielded this 
consent, his reluctance it was plain proceeded but from 
excess of love, for at the same time he permitted her to 
lavish whatever she pleased of gold and jewels upon her 
sisters, only cautioning her not to be led by their evil 
counsels into the attempt to see his form ',* if she failed 
in her obedience as to this, great misfortune would fall 
upon her, and she would lose him for ever. Psyche, as 

* It is not a little singular that the same idea should pervade so 
many of the German elf-stories. Thus we find that Hinzelman, the 
Puck of our Teutonic neighbours, had always a particular aversion to 
being seen, and this forms the basis of several tales ; but one will be 
sufficient to show the ^nature of the humorous goblin — A cook who 
was on terms of great intimacy with him, thought that she might ven- 
ture to make a request of him, though another might not, and as she 
felt a strong desire to see Hinzelman bodily whom she heard talking 
every day, and whom she supplied with meat and drink, she prayed 
him earnestly to grant her that favour ; but he would not, and said 
that this was not the right time, but that when it was proper he would 
let himself be seen by any person. This refusal only stimulated her 
curiosity, and she pressed him more and more to grant her request. 
He said she would repent if she would not give up her importunity ; 
and when all his repr^entations were to no purpose, he at last said 
to her, " come to-morrow morning before sunrise into the cellar, and 
carry in each hand a pail full of water, and your request shall be 
complied with.** The maid enquired what the water was for. " That 


before, was ready enough with her promises, protesting 
that she Would rather undergo a thousand deaths than 
forfeit his affection, and beseeching as a farther boon that 
he would allow Zephyrus to fetch her sisters from the 
mountain into the valley. To this also the enamoured 
husband assented, and with morning went away as usual. 
The sisters had now arrived at the summit of the rock, 
and finding it impossible to go any farther began afresh 
to lament for Psyche as one who was for ever lost to 
them^ when suddenly she appeared in the valley below 
and wishing them to be of good cheer, bade Zephyrus 
waft them gently down to her. Hereupon the West Wind 
took them upon his wings and laid them beside her on 
the green-sward. 

you will lean/* answered he; *' without it the sight of me might be 
injurious to you." 

Next morning the cook was ready at peep of dawn, took in each 
hand a pail of water, and went down to the cellar. She looked about 
her without seeing any thing ; but as she cast her eyes on the ground 
she perceired a tray on which was lying a naked child apparently 
three years old, and two knives sticking crosswise in his heart, and 
his whole body streaming with blood. The maid was terrified at this 
sight to such a degree that she lost her senses and fell in a faint on 
the ground. The spirit immediately took the water that she had 
brought with her, and poured it all over her head, by which means 
she came to herself again. She looked about for the tray, but all had 
vanished, and she only heard the voice of Hinzelman, who said, ** you 
see now how needful the water was ; if it had not been at hand, you 
had died here in the cellar. I hope your burning desire to see me is 
now pretty well cooled." 

In the same way the beautiful fairy Pbbussine (Histoire de Me- 
lusine, tir^e des Chroniques de Poitou, Paris 1698. Dobenek,) stipu- 
lates with her husband that he shall never visit her in her lyings- in, 
and when he fails in this condition flies fr^m him with her three 
daughters. So too, Melusine, when giving her hand to Count Ray- 
mond, bargains that he shall never desire to see her on a Saturday, 
and a similar infraction of the word plighted brings with it a similar 


It is needless to relate the joy that followed^ or the 
admiration of the sisters at all the treasures shown to 
them by the gratified Psyche. When however they had 
grown weary of wondering, and had moreover satisfied 
themselves at a princely banquet^ they began with female 
curiosity to enquire about her husband. But Psyche^ 
mindful of his admonitions, pretended that he was a 
handsome young man, with light hair, who was much 
addicted to sport amongst the mountains, and, that she 
might not b^ caught tripping, turned the discourse by 
filling theif laps with gold and jewels, and again dis- 
missed them on the wings of Zephyrus. 

No sooner were the sisters safely landed upon the rock 
than they began to give vent to the envy that filled their 
bosoms. *' Saw you not,** said one, " what was in the 
house ? what gold ! what jewels ! if her husband be as 
handsome as she affirms, there is no happiness on earth 
that can coif)pare to hers ; he may be a god and perhaps 
make a^ goddess of her, as already she is served by 
voices, and commands the winds.*' To this the other 
assented, and, taking counsel together, they agreed to 
destroy her if possible,* but in the meanwhile to conceal 
ffom their parents the story of her good fortune. 

It would be long to relate how, when months had 
passed, her unseen husband again in the most pathetic 
terms warned Psyche against her envious sisters, saying 
that they would never rest till they had caused her to 
break her vow, but that when she had once looked upon 
his face, she would never se^ it again. With tears and sad 
forebodings he departed in the morning, and scarcely had 
he gone than the unwelcome guests making their appear- 

* Here again it is easy to to detect a family likeness to the 
story of the envious sisters in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, 
which has re-appeared with little variation in " Cherry and Fire-Star,'* 
and is _al«o to he found in the Gesta Bomanorum. 


ance they were welcomed as usual by the innocent Psyche. 
Then fell the con versation upon her husband^ and^ forget- 
ful of the tale she had told before^ she now said that he 
was a merchant^ of a [middle age, who was forced by 
his business to be absent. Upon this the sisters^ per- 
ceiving how she had deceived them, pretended that in 
their great regard for her they had sought about and 
discovered her husband was a serpent, who only waited 
for the time of her delivery to devour both her and her 
infant ; in confirmation of which they reminded her of 
the oracle. Poor Psyche was moved by their words, and 
confessed that she had never seen her husband, who, as 
he always kept himself invisible, was likely enough to be 
a monster. This was precisely what they wanted to 
know, and having got to the bottom of the mystery they 
now advised her that she should put a knife under her 
pillow, hide a lamp behind the hangings, and when her 
husband was fast asleep creep out of bed on bare feet 
and cut off his head. With this treacherous counsel they 
took themselves off as quickly as possible, lest they 
should be detected and punished, and Psyche being left 
to herself was tormented by a thousand doubts. One . 
moment she will, the next she will not j now mistrust has 
the mastery, and then again love and confidence possess 
her. As usual the worser motive prevails ; her husband 
sleeps 3 she arms herself with the knife^ and taking up 
the lamp approaches the bed, when, O wonder ! — before 
her lay Cupid, the God of Love, in the light of whose 
wondrous beauty the flame itself grew brighter and the 
steel received a keener edge. Overwhelmed with a 
sweet terror, she sought to hide the knife — even in her 
own bosom — but it dropt from her hand and she fell upon 
her knees. With what awe, and love, and admiration, 
did she gaze upon the sleeper ! And well she might, for 
his golden locks poured forth ambrosia, and hung down 



in waving ringlets about his rosy cheeks and snowy neck ; 
the dewy pinions upon his shoulders were white like 
some shining flower^ and although the wings were still 
the soft plumage at their ends shook tremulously with 
an amorous motion 3 the rest of his form was exquisitely 
fair and delicate^ and such as Venus herself could not 
shame to have brought forth. At the foot of the bed lay 
his bows and quiver, and the natural curiosity of her sex 
being now fully awakened Psyche fell to examining the 
arrows, when, as she tried the point of one upon her trem- 
bling finger, it pierced the flesh so that the blood began to 
(low. Hereupon the weapon produced its wonted effect ; 
her love, great as it had been before, was now yet more in- 
flamed ', she gazed on him tenderly, but while her heart 
beat and her hand trembled, there fell ft'om the lamp a 
drop of burning oil on his left shoulder and he awoke. 
Filled with wrath at her transgression he would have 
fled in silence, but she caught hold of his foot and was 
borne aloft with him to the clouds, when, from fright and 
weariness, she again dropped to earth, and the god 
alighting on a near cypress tree, thus addressed her: 
" Oh, foolish Psyche, have I not for thee forgotten the 
bests of my mother Venus, and would you in requital 
of so much love take away my life ? But thy faithless 
counsellors shall dearly abye their machinations. As for 
thee, thy punishment will be great enough in that I now 
abandon thee for ever.". 

Stretched upon the earth Psyche followed him with her 
eyes so long as he was still in sight ; but when she could 
no longer see him> despair possessed her^ and she flung 
herself into the ne»t river. The gentle stream, however, 
that loved and feared the god who burns up even water, 
refused to let her sink, and cast her back again upon the 
shore. Then Pat*, who was sitting close by, teaching the 
goddess Syrinx the sweetest melodifes, or, in yet plainer 

F 3 


language^ playing upon pipes formed of reeds, attempted 
to comfort her^ recommending that she should leave off 
weeping, and rather try to soften Cupid by prayers and 
service. To this advice Psyche made no answer but liy a 
silent adoration of his divinity, and then pursued her 
wandering course, till chance brought her to the city 
where one of her sisters dwelt. There she related what 
had happened, and, in the hope of punishing her cruelty, 
with seeming regret added that Cupid in abandoning her 
had declared he would marry her sister ; at which the 
envious one betook herself to the rock, and, calling upon 
the Zephyr, sprang from it in the full hope that he 
would as usual bear her upon his wings into the valley. 
But the wind heard her not -, and she fell below, crushed 
and mangled, and her body was devoured by the beasts 
of prey and the wild birds of the air. In the same way 
perished the other sister. 

In the meantime, while Psyche went on searching for 
Cupid, he was lying grievously wounded on his mother's 
bed. Then the white sea-gull, who is always much 
given to chattering, must needs fly off to Venus, who was 
bathing in the bosom of the waters, and, having found her, 
begins to gossip of all that had happened, relating how 
Cupid had been grievously wounded, and that people 
began to speak ill of herself and her family ; ''they say,** 
adds the gull, '' that your son keeps bad company in the 
mountains, while you are revelling- and rioting with old 
Ocean, whereby marriage has become a bed of discord, 
and love has grown out of fashion." The goddess, stung 
by these insinuations, demanded who it was that had 
dared to bewitch her son ; and, being informed that it was 
Psyche, flew off in a violent rage to the chamber of poor 
Cupid, whom she loaded with reproaches, threatening to 
clip his wings for him and take away his bow and arrows. 
Not a word could the little offender say for himself, but 
hid his head under the bed-clothes 5 and Venus, having 


scolded till she whs tired, dashed out of the room, when 

haply she met Juno and Ceres, who, upon learning 

from her the cause of all this tumult, sought to put in a 

good word for Cupid ; the fact is, they were both afraid 

of the urchin, having had some experience of his shafts, 

and hoped by these means to conciliate him for the future. 

Venus, however, was much too angry to listen to reason, 

and set out in quest of Psyche, with the full determination 

of punishing her to the utmost ; but not succeeding in 

her search, she flew oflp to Jupiter to beg the use of herald 

Mercury for the nonce. This being granted, she ordered 

Hermes to proclaim far and wide, that whoever discovered 

Psyche and brought her to Venus — 

*' Shall to-night receive a kiss 
How or where himself would wish." 

Upon which promise all the world was in motion, kisses 
from a goddess not being a thing of every day occurrence. 
And what was the poor fugitive doing all the time ? she 
was wandering from place to place, till at length she 
espied a temple on the brow of a mountain, and thinking 
that perhaps her lord might dwell there she climbed the 
steep and entered it, when she found shocks of wheat and 
barley and various implements of husbandry, but all lying 
about in th€ utmost confusion. Then thought Psyche to 
herself that she would win the favour of the deity, to 
whom the temple belonged, by putting every thing in 
order ; and while she was thus employed Ceres made 
her appearance. The goddess, as may be imagined, was 
greatly pleased at this devotion, but she had the fear of 
Venus before her eyes, and told Psyche how she had lately 
entered into a treaty of peace and amity with the Cyprian 
queen, and therefore could not allow her to find sanctuary 
in the temple. So fhe poor wanderer resumed her sorrow- 
ful journey, and went on till she came in sight of a second 
fane, much richer and more glorious than the first, which 


she found was dedicated to the goddess Juno^ to whom 
she immediately knelt and prayed for aid. But Juno also 
had her own reasons for not offending Venus> though she 
hid them under the pretext of love for so near a relation, 
and of exceeding respect for the law that forbade her 
harbouring the servant of another deity; wherefore she 
begged to be excused, and requested the suppliant would 
go about her business. 

Thus repulsed on all sides. Psyche went straight to the 
house of Venus, when she was seized by an old servant, 
hight Custom, and dragged before her enraged mistress, 
who, to say the truth, quite forgot the goddess in her 
wrath, and railed like any kitchen wench. — **Ha, ha!'* 
quoth she, laughing bitterly, and shaking her head after 
the manner of angry folks — "you have at last conde- 
scended to visit your mother-in-law ? — or, perhaps, you 
have come to look after your husband ? Set your heart 
at rest ; I will receive you like a true stepmother. What, 
ho there ! — ^where are my servants. Anxiety and Sorrow > 
let them take this creature and scourge her soundly.** 
Accordingly they took her away and treated her des- 
piteously ; yet still Venus was not satisfied, but flew upon 
her like a tigress, tearing her hair and clothes and beating 
her, protesting all the time that the marriage was illegal, 
that she had no mind to be a grandmother at her years, 
and that her son was unworthy of the name. When at 
length she was weary of this amusement, she bethought 
herself of a better mode of punishment, and said, " the 
truth is, you are so abominably ugly that you can only 
hope to gain favour by being useful ; wherefore you must 
separate the wheat, barley^ millet, and vetches, that are 
mingled in yonder heap, each from the other, arranging 
them in several piles, and that before night- fall.'* 

Psyche was now left alone -, feeling however that to 



accomplish such a task was impossible^ she did not make 
the attempt, but folded her arms and sate down in silent 
despair. Then came forth the little Emmet, and pitying 
her sad estate^ he called to him all the ants of the land, 
and in an eloquent speech informed them who Psyche 
was, and how cruelly she had been treated. More inde- 
pendent, or more compassionate, than Ceres or Juno, they 
listened to his words and agreed to do as he desired, 
wave after wave of the seven-footed race pouring in, and 
toiling hither and thither to divide the several sorts of 
grain and put them into proper order. Having accom- 
plished this, they retired as swiftly as they had come. 

Late at night Venus returned from the banquet, her 
hair dropping wine and odours, but seeing her orders 
fulfilled she was more wrath than ever, and by the morn- 
ing had bethought herself of a new wile, that she thought 
full surely must destroy her victim. *' Seest thou," she 
said, " yonder meadows bordered by the river, and the 
golden-fleeced sheep tiiat feed there without any one to 
guard them ? I desire that at all hazards you bring me a 
flock of that golden wool.'' 

At this command Psyche arose and went her way, not 
to do as she had been bidden, but to find a rest from care 
and sorrow by throwing herself into the water. Then a 
green reed, the sweet nurse of music, became divinely 
inspired by the breath of the wind, and spoke to her from 
the river : — '* O Psyche, I pray you pollute not my stream 
by your death, nor yet venture near those fearful sheep, 
for so long as the siin shines upon them their nature is 
fierce to madness, and they butt at all who approach with 
sharp horns and foreheads as hard as iron. Hide there- 
fore by me under this green plane-tree till the heat of 
the day is over, and they have refreshed themselves in the 
water, when their wildness will be abated, and you may 


safely gather the wool that they have left hanging upon 
the briers.*' 

And Psyche did as the friendly reed advised, and 
brought back a quantity of the golden fleece to Venus, 
who, however, was as far from being satisfied as before. 
Convinced that Psyche must have been somehow assisted 
by Cupid, although he was safely locked up in his 
chamber, she now said, " Seest thou yonder rock from 
which a black torrent is pouring down, that supplies the 
Stygian Lake ? go thither, and fill me this crystal urn from 
the source of the waters.*' 

Again Psyche left the presence of her hard task-mis* 
tress, sure at least of finding an end to all her miseries. 
Indeed nothing seemed more likely: before her stretched 
a huge mass of steep ragged rocks, down which the waters 
rushed; and which it was madness to think of ascending, 
besides that the source was guarded by dragons, whose 
eyes never slept, while the waves roared and clamoured, 
— '' away with thee ! away ! or thou art lost." Poor 
Psyche was too much terrified at this tremendous scene 
to lament her hard fate with tears any longer ; she was 
well-nigh petrified. But just then came sailing by the 
bird of Jove, and remembering how he had been helped 
by Cupid in the affair of Ganymede, out of gratitude he 
thought to serve his bride ; accordingly he came down, 
took the crystal cup from her, and, dexterously winging 
his flight between the dragons, contrived to fill it in spite 
of them. 

Great was the surprise, and no less the wrath, of Venus 
when Psyche returned after having again successfully 
fulfilled her mission. "Truly," quoth she, "you must be 
a witch, who can obey such commands ? But I tell you 
what, my child ; you must now take this box, wend your 
way to the shades below, and beg Proserpine to send 
me enough of her beauty to last for a single day. Say 


that all had has been wasted away in grieving for my 
son's sickness -, and mind you make haste back again^ for 
I have to be at a meeting of the gods to-day.'* 

Psyche now saw that it was all over with her ; and, 
considering that if she was to go to the Infernal Regions, 
the shortest way thither would be, by throwing herself 
from a neighbouring tower, she prepared accordingly. 
But the tower suddenly found a tongue, and admonish- 
ed her that if she went to Orcus by that road she 
would never come back again, it being contrary to 
Pluto's laws for the soul to travel unless in company 
with the body 5 " wherefore," said the friendly tower, 
" go to Lacedsemon, and seek out the hill Taenaros close 
by, where you will find a cavern that leads to the palace 
of Pluto. Mind, however, that you do not go empty- 
handed, but carry a cake in either hand, made of barley 
and honey, and a couple of farthings in your mouth« 
The first you will want to stop the jaws of Cerberus, and 
the latter to pay old Charon, for dead or living he will 
ferry no one over the Styx till he has got his fare. When 
you have gone some way you will meet a lame ass* 
carrying wood, driven by a fellow who is also lame, and 
who will ask you to pick up some of the sticks for him, 
but pass on and say nothing. Next you will come to 
Charon -, let the covetous old rogue take one of the 
farthings from your mouth himself, and when you are 
in his boat you will see an aged spectre floating on the 
water, who will hold up his mouldering hands and cry 
to be taken in 5 but yield you not to a compassion that 
is forbidden. The river being passed, you will come 
upon some old women spinning,t and they also will pray 

• None of the commentators have been able to explain this, or the 
following allusion ; they evidently refer to some superstition of which 
we nowhere else find mention.^ 

t The F&tcxt or Fates. 

F 5 


of you to help them ; but do nothing^ of the kind, for 
all these are snares set for you by Venus, in the hope 
that you may. drop one of your cakes, which if you should 
do, you will never see the light of day again, since you 
will have nought left wherewith to bribe the three-headed 
dog Cerberus upon your return. Arrived at the palace 
of Proserpine, she will receive you kindly, and invite you 
to sit and feast with her; but do you seat yourself on the 
ground and eat of nothing save brown bread, after which 
you must tell her the purpose of your coming, and having 
received her gift for Venus come back directly. Then, 
as you gave one cake to Cerberus before, so now you 
must give him the other that he may let you pass freely, 
and the remaining farthing to Charon. One thing, how^ 
ever, I must particularly caution you agsunst; on no 
account open the box, or be curious to know what it 

Up to a certain point Pysche followed the advice of 
the prophetic tower with great punctuality. She found 
Tflenarus, passed the ass and hh. driver in silence, paid the 
ferryman his fare, took no note of the swimming spectre, 
fed Cerberus, refused to help the spinners, would eat 
nothing but brown bread, and came away aafely with her 
box. Once again in the light of day the old curiosity of 
her sex began to stir within her, and to whisper that she 
might as well take a little of the beauty for her own use> 
and thus become more pleasing in the eyes of Cupid ; 
why should she give it all to Venus, who had treated 
her so cruelly ? So she opened the box, when lo ! there 
was nothing visible within it ^ but a Stygian sleep — the 
sleep of death — ^arose from it, felt though not seen, and 
invaded all her senses, and she fell to the earth, and lay 
there a slumbering corse. 

But the trials of Pysche were destined to have a fairer 
end than could have been expected. Cupid, who had by 


this time recovered of his burn, and who could no longer 
endure the absence of his wife^ slipt through his prison- 
window, and flew on the wings of love to her assistance. 
Carefully brushing the fatal sleep from her eyes, he 
enclosed It again in the box, and waking her with the 
blunted end of an arrow, said, '' Ah Psyche ! again has 
thy curiosity well-nigh destroyed thee. But now arise, 
and fulfil the bests of my mother, and in the meantime I 
will provide for the rest." 

While Pysche, thus encouraged, set out to fulfil her 
mission, Cupid, who feared the anger of his mother, 
betook himself to the footstool of Jove, and there pleaded 
his own cause so well, that the god- king granted all he 
desired, and immediately summoned a general congress 
of all the deities under a penalty of a thousand pounds to 
whomsoever should be absent. A fine 90 heavy produced 
immediate obedience, and when they were all assembled 
Jupiter in an excellent speech, full of morals and fine 
sentiments, enlarged upon the peccadillos of Cupid, to 
which he said it was high time to put an end by giving 
him a wife who would look after him. Then, turning to 
Venus, he added, " and you, my dear daughter, trouble 
not yourself about the bride being only a mortal 3 I will 
myself take care that the marriage is all right and proper 
according to the canons of the civil law." Here\yith he 
commanded a splendid banquet to be spread, at which 
order the countenances of all his guests began visibly to 
brighten u}), and Pysche being fetched to him by Mercury, 
he held out to her a sparkling goblet of ambrosia, saying 
at the same time, " Drink and be immortal ^ may Cupid 
never fly from your embraces, but may your nuptials 
last for ever.*' 

This short speech was mightily applauded by all the 
gods and goddesses, who now sate down to the feast in 
high good humour. Ganymede ministered the cup to 


Jove J Bacchus served the rest of the company ; Vulcan 
cooked the supper 3 the Hours crimsoned all around with 
roses; the Graces scattered perfuiiies; the Muses sang, 
while Apollo accompanied them on his harp ; Venus>now 
reconciled to the match^ or appearing to be so, danced, 
as only Venus can dance^ to the sweetest music ; Satyrus 
played the flute, and Paniscus* recited verse to the 
sound of the pipe. 

Thus was Pysche lawfully married to Cupid, and their 
first child was Pleasure. 

* According to Pliny (Lib. 35. c. zi.) a certain painter, by name 
Tauriscus, *' pictured a little Pan, whom he called Paniscus, in 
manner of an antick.'* Cicero, howeyer, tells us that the Panisci 
were inferior deities who presided oyer woods and fields. They 
were in fact little Pans, and were much the same as the Satyrisci, 
or Uttle Satyrs. 



March the bleak ! — March the boisterous ! — and what is 
worse, March who brings that ugly rascal. Quarter 
Day, in his train — *' post equitem sedet atra Cura/' — 
and of all the forms which Care puts on, probably that 
of Quarter Day is one of the blackest. But neverthe- 
less March has his good qualities. He is the harbinger 
of Spring, though a rough one, and his gales, when most 
furious, are only helping to dry up the excessive moisture 
of the earth, so that according to the old proverb, " a 
bushel of March dust is worth a king's ransom.'* This 
applies particularly to the heavier and more productive 
lands, which, from their marly nature retain the dew and 
rains of the preceding months much longer than the 
lighter soils. 

In regard to his birth and parentage, he was at one 
time the year's eldest son, but, somehow January has 
contrived to snap up his inheritance, although well-nigh 
the youngest of the family. He was called by the 
Saxons Rhedmonath, which some have derived from the 
deity, Rheda, to whom sacrifices were offered in this 
month 3 but others maintain that it comes from the 
Saxon reed, i.e. council, March being the time when the 


Goths usually met in council, previous to their wars and 
expeditions. It had also the name of Klydnumath, from 
Klyd, meaning *' stormy/* an epithet which March may 
seem to have fairly deserved from its high winds. Finally 
it was known as Lenct-monat. " The month of March," 
says Verstegan, " they (the Saxons) called Lenct-monat» 
that is, according to our new orthography. Length-month, 
because the days did then first begin in length to exceed 
the nights. And this month being by our ancestors so 
called when they received Christianity, and consequently 
therewith the ancient Christian custom of fasting, they 
called this chief season of fasting, the fast of Lenct, 
because of the lenct monat, wherein the most part of the 
time of fasting always fell j and hereof it cometh that we 
now call it Lent, it being rather the fast of Lent, though 
the former name of Lent-monat be long since lost, and 
the name of March borrowed instead thereof.*' So far 
Verstegan ; and it is only necessary to add that its 
present name of March is borrowed from the Romans, 
with whom it was the first month of the year, and who 
dedicated it therefore to Mars, as being, in their opinion, 
the father of their founder Romulus. According to Ovid, 
the god of war was mightily pleased with this proof of 
family respect and devotion : — ^ 

A te principlum Romano ducimus anno ; 

Primus de patrio nomine mensis eat ; 
Vox rata fit, patrioque yocat de nomine mensem i 

Dicitur hcec pletas grata foisse Deo. 

It is thus rudely "Englished by W. S." 

'* With thee will we begin our Romane yeare, 
And our first month thy noble name shall wear. 
His word*s made good ; this month he thus did call, 
And pleased his father very well withall." 

Oyid*s Festiyalls,p. 49. By W. S. London, 1639. 

* P. OTidii Nas; Fastorum. Lib. iii. v. 75 


Without disputing the claim of Mars to stand god- 
father to this month, or of the Romans, if they liked it, to 
be his children, there are good astronomical reasons for 
March being the commencement of the year, while Ja- 
nuary would seem to have been chosen only from capi^ce. 
So thought our ancestors, as well as the Romans, and so 
too thought the Israelites in obedience to the divine 
command,* which enjoined that this should be the com- 
mencement of their sacred year, as their civil year began 
in September. The change with us is comparatively 
speaking of recent date, for prior to the September of 
1752, our Civil or Legal Year began on the Day of the 
Annunciation, i.e. on the 25th of March. Now this was 
coming much nearer to astronomical truth ; but unfor- 
tunately the so-called Historical year had for a long time 
begun on the Day of the Circumcision, i.e., the 1st of 
January ) and to avoid the confusion arising between the 
two, it was enacted that both should date from the same 
period. The change, no doubt, removed a cause of some 
confusion in the calendar, but it was at the expense of 
much absurdity.f 

* ''And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of 
Egypt, saying; This month shall be unto you the beginning of 
months, it shall be the first month of the year to you." Exodus, 
chap. zii. v. I and 2. 

It is curious to see how closely the Passover of the Jews agrees 
with the time when the sun crosses or passes over the equator, an event 
that could hardly have failed to be celebrated with appropriate rites 
and ceremonies amongst a people so devoted to astronomy as the 
Egyptians, who had educated Moses. 

t The confusion is indeed manifest, almost too much so to need 
being pointed out. For example ; in describing the year between 
the 1st of January and the 25th of March, civilians called each day 
within that period one year earlier than historians ; while 
the former wrote— January 7th, 1658. 
the latter wrote — January 7th, 1659. 
though both described the 25th of the following March, and all the 


Independent of all other considerations^ spring appears 
to be the natural beginning of the year^ as winter is the 
fitting close of it.* 

This change of season is seen more or less distinctly 

ensuing months, as being in the year 1659. To prevent the mistakes 
incident to so complex an arrangement, the doubtful part of each 
year was usually written in accordance with both modes, by placing 
two figures at the end ; the upper being the Civilf or Legal year, — 
and the lower, the Historical; thus : i^ 

Feby. 3rd. 164 ^"E'^"" y.*^^" 
^ 9 — Historical year. 

Hence, whenever the year is so written, the lower figve always 
indicates the year now used in our calendar. 

While I am upon this subject, the following quotation from Sir H. 
Nicolas*s Notitia Historica will not be altogether out of place in 
regard to that alteration in the calendar which forms what is usually 
called the Old and New Style^ premising only that it commenced on 
the 2nd of September, 1752, on which day the Old Style ceased, and 
the next day, instead of being called the 3rd, became the 14th of 
September. The cause of the change is thus explained — " The 
calendar was farther improved by Julius Cesar, who, finding that the 
sun performed his course in 365^ days nearly, gave 365 days to each 
three years, but to every fourth year 366 days, adding a day before 
the 6th of the Calends of February, which was then reckoned twice ; 
and hence from his sextus we have the term, Bissextile or Leap year. 
But the astronomers concerned in reforming the calendar under Pope 
Gregory XIII., observing that in four years the Bissextile added 44 
minutes more than the real course of the sun, and finding that in 133 
years this would cause a difference of a day, directed that in the 
course of every 400 years there should be three Sextiles retrenched, 
the years, expressing the centuries, not being leap-years unless 
divisible by 4. Thus, 1600 and 2000 are bissextile; but 1700, 1800, 
and 1900 are not. This improvement was adopted in England in 
1752 in pursuance of an act of Parliament, in which it was ordered 
that the day next following the 2nd of September should be accounted 
the 14th, the omission of the intermediate days causing the difference 
between the Old Style and the New, By the same act the com- 
mencement of the Civil year was changed from the 25th of March to 
the Ist of January." 

* It is true that the real, or astronomical, spring does not com- 


marked, according to the 'temperature, by the whole 
of the animal creation. Bats rouse up from their winter 
sleep ; the wood-cock, the field-fare, and the other birds, 
that had hybernated with us on account of our milder 
climate, now return to the more northern regions; the 
rooks are all in motion, building or repairing their nests -, 
the ring-dove coos, the pheasant crows, the throstle sings 
on the top of some as yet leafless tree, and the bee is on 
the wing. In the waters and on the earth the busy stir 
of life is no less visible; the little smelts or sparlings run 
up the rivers to spawn, and the young lambs make their 
first appearance in the meadows. In addition to the 
flowers of the preceding month, we have now the crown 
imperial, the dog's-tooth violet, narcissus, hyacinth, fritil- 
laries, scarlet ranunculus, pile- wort, tulip, great snow-drop, 
and violet perfuming the forest-air with its fragrance. 

St. David* s Day opens the month, taking its appellation 
from the saint of that name, who flourished in the fifth 
and sixth ages of the Christian era, and died, it is said, at 
the age of a hundred and forty years.* Perhaps this 
longevity ought to be set down amidst the other miracles 
recorded of St. David. 

The custom of wearing the leek upon this day, has 
been variously accounted for. In the Festa Anglo- 
Romanaf we are told ''that the Britons on this day, 
constantly wear a leak in memory of a notable and 
famous victory obtained by them over the Saxons, they 
during the battle having leeks in their hats for their 
military colours and distinction of themselves, by per- 

mence till about the 20tli or 21st, but so slight a diiference can not 
affect the question ; spring in the vulgar reckoning begins with the 

• Vide Pitt De Illustribtis Anglia ScHptoribus. 

t 12rao. London, 1678, p. 29. 


suasion of Saint David.*** Other accounts add that they 
were fighting under their King Cadwallo^ near a field in 
which that vegetable was growing, at Hetbfield^ or Hat- 
field, Chase, in Yorkshire, a. d. 633.t King James ^ 
informs us that the ''Welshmen in commemoration of 
the great fight by the Black Prince of Wales do wear 
leeks as their chosen ensigns.*' Owen § flatly disowns 
the saint, imagining that the custom arose from the 
Cymhortha^ a neighbourly aid of various kinds aflforded by 
the farmers to any one of their class, who was not able to 
help himself. The manner of it in some districts was 
thus 5 at an appointed time they all met to assist him in 
ploughing, or in whatever other agricultural service their 
help was needed ; on which occasion they each brought 
with them a portion of leeks to be used in making a 
general mess of pottage. But not one of these accounts 
appears to me more satisfactory than the other, and, 
though it might be difficult to disprove them, it is 
no less difficult to believe them. There seems, however, 
to be a glimpse of truth dawning upon us from another 
quarter. The onion was sacred amongst the Egyptians ;|| 

* Hone quotes the same account from Brady's ClavU Cktlendartaj 
and is exceedingly wrath with his author for not telling where he 
found his information. A better proof of the careless way, in which 
Hone got up his book, and the very small stock of information he 
brought to his task, could hardly be desired. In Brand's Popular 
ArUiquitieSf a work familiar to every tyro, there is given under the 
head of St. David*s this identical version of the story, with a reference 
to the Festciy above quoted. 

t Britannia Saneta, vol. ii. p. 163. Lewis' History qf Britainy p. 
215 et seq. Geqffrey qf Monmouthy (Eng. Trans.) Book xii. chap. 
8 & 9 ; Carte's Hist, of England, vol. L p. 228. 

X Royal Apothegms. 12mc. London, 1658. 

§ Cambrian Biography ^ 8vo. London, 1803, p. 86. ' 
' II "Allium cepasque," says Pliny, "inter Decs in jurejurando 
habet Egyptus." The Egyptian in swearing holds the leek and 
onion amongst the Gods. Nat, Hist, Lib. 19—32. Juvenal also, 


and, however we may account for it, there is scarcely a 
rite or ceremony amongst any people without a precedent 
in one of earlier date. Keeping this fact steadily in view, 
it would seem probable that the leek, like the misletoe 
among the Druids, or the bean amongst the Pythagoreans, 
had at one time a mystic and religious meaning, and that 
the custom has survived although its origin has been 

1 he next day of note is St. Patrick's Day, which falls 
upon the seventeenth. Though he is held by the Irish 
to be their patron saint he was either a Scot or a Welsh- 
man. Butler says he was born, according to his own 
confession,* " in a village called Bonaven Tabemia, which 
seems to be the town of Killpatrick, on the mouth of 
the river Clyd in Scotland, between Dumbriton and Glas- 

Sat. XV. when holding up the Egyptian superstitions to contempt 

" Porrum et caepe nefas violare et frangere morsu. 
O sanctas gentes, quibus h«c nascuntur in hortis 
Numina ! '* 

Thus rendered by Gifford ; 

*' *Tis dangerous here 
To violate an onion or to stain 
The sanctity of leeks with tooth profane. 
O holy nation ! sacrosanct abodes ! 
Where every garden propagates its Gods.'* 

The same thing is mentioned by Prudentius ; 

*^ Appone porris religiosas arulas ; 
Venerare acerbum caepe, mordax allium." 
lltpitrf(l>av(0Vf Hymn x. v. 258. 

In plain English " Raise sacred altars to the leek ; worship the 
sharp onion, the biting garlic." 

* Butler's Lives qf the FatherSf ^c. vol. ix. p. 177. edit. Dublin, 
] 789. Dumbriton, as Butler has it, or Dumbritoun, as it is spelt in 
the old maps, is the antiquated mode of t( riting Dumbarton. 


gowj** while others say that he was born in the vale of 
llhos in Pembrokeshire ; and Jones asserts he was of 
Caernarvonshire,* his original name being Maenwyn. 
Even the date of his birth is doubtful, nothing being 
known for certain in this respect except that he was 
born some time towards the end of the fourteenth cen- 
tury. The ecclesiastical name of Patriciusf was given to 
him by Pope Celestine, when he consecrated him a bishop, 
and sent him over to Ireland for the purpose of bringing 
the wild natives within the pale of the Church. Upon 
landing at Wicklow in 433, he immediately commenced 
his task of preaching and convertings but his hearers 
took in very ill part this attack upon their old religion 
and were nigh stoning him to death, when he plucked up 
a trefoil by the root and asked, '* is it not as feasible for 
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? as for these three leaves 
thus to grow upon a single stalk?*' So persuaded, they 
tell us, were the Irish by this happy illustration, that 
they at once renounced their paganism and allowed the 
good bishop to baptize them on the spot. 

If such indeed were the case, it must be allowed they 
had a marvellous proneness to conviction. We fear, 
however, the legend may be disputed by the incredulous, 
who happen to recollect that the Druids used the trefoil 
for medical purposes, and that they held the mystic 
number, three, in high veneration, deeming the misletoe 
sacred because its leaves and berries grew in clusters of 
three, united to one stem. J Not being gifted with the 
proper degree of faith, such sceptics might be inclined to 

* Jones' Historical Account of the Welsh Bards. Fol. Lond. 1794, 
p. 13, note. 

t Ribadeneira explains this to mean "pere de plusieurs," the father 
of many, a rather ambiguous cognomen for a single gentleman 
whether clerical or laic. Tom. i. p. 344. Fol. Paris, 1686. 

t Valiancy's Grammar qf the Irish Language. 


infer that the wearing of the shamrock on a particular 
day, like the Welshman's hadge of the leek, was merely 
the Christian adoption of some forgotten pagan custom^''^ 
or else that it proceeded from the regard in which the 
herh was held for its medicinal properties. The two 
suppositions are so far from being inconsistent with each 
other, that they might be considered as cause and effect, 
this triad of leaves being one reason for attributing to the 
herb its sanative virtues. 

In Ireland this day is one of national rejoicing, the saint 
being in high odour for his numerous miracles, the most 
useful of which was unquestionably his driving all noxious 
reptiles out of the country, and forbidding them to return, 
under penalty it may be presumed of spiritual censure. 

* It is not a little singular that Spenser, who had such good op. 
portunities of knowing the truth, should have described the shamrock 
as being synonymous with the water-cress ; when speaking of the 
distress, to which the Irish were reduced by the wars in Munster, 
he says, " if they found a plot of water-cresses ^ or shamrocks^ there 
they flocked as to a feast for the time." View of the State of Ireland^ 
A. D. 1596, Fol. Dublin, 1633. p. 72. That the Irish used the sham- 
rock for food is certain, whatever it may have been. Thus in 
Wyther's Abuses Stript and Whipt, 8vo. London, 1613, p. 71, 

** And for my cloathing in a mantle goe, , , .. ~] 

And feed on Sham-roots^ as the Irish doe." 

Again in Sir Henry Piers* Description of Westmeath in Vallancey's 
Collectanea de rebus Hibemids, v. i. p. 121, " They have a custom 
every May-day, which they count their first day of summer, to 
have to their meal one formal dish, whatever else they have, which 
some call stir-about or hasty-pudding, that is flour and milk boiled 
thick ; and this is holden for an argument of the good-wife*s good 
housewifery, that made her corn hold out so well ; for if they can 
hold out so long with bread they count they can do well enough for 
what remains of the year till harvest ; for then milk becomes plenty ; 
and butter, new cheese, and curds, and shamrocks, are the food of the 
meuner sort all this season. 


Even spiders were included in the general ban ;* nor is it 
any impeachment of the truth of the record that the pro^ 
hibition has long since ceased to have effect except in the 
eyes of the faithful, who are gifted with a clearness of 
vision unfortunately denied to the Sassenach and the 

Another feature of this day remains to be noticed. 
In February 1783, a brotherhood was created by letters 
patent^ under the name of " Knights of the Illustrious 
Order of Saint Patrick ;** and for the more grace of the 
new institution the sovereign of the day was to be its 
head, under whom were fifteen knights companions, 
while *' the lieutenant general, and general governor of 
Ireland, or the lord deputy, or deputies, or lords justices, 
or other chief governor or governors for the time being, 
were to officiate as deputy grand-masters.'* By the 
statutes of the order the badge is to be of gold, sur- 
mounted with a wreath of shamrock, in this instance 
understood to mean trefoil, surrounding a golden circlet, 
on which is the motto of the brotherhood in letters of the 
same — quis separabitP — with the date of their foundation, 
encircling Saint Patrick's cross gules, surmounted with a 
trefoil vert, each leaf charged with an imperial crown or, 
upon a field argent This badge, encircled with rays in 
form of a silver star of eight points, four greater and four 
lesser, is directed to be worn on the left side of the 
outer garment. 

Mid-lent Sunday is the fourth Sunday in Lent, or that 

• According to Hone, Ribadeneira when speaking of this miracle 
says» ''it is reported of King^s College, Cambridge, that being built 
of Irish wood no spider doth ever come near it." I do not, myself, 
remember to have heard such a report in my college-daysi but never- 
theless believe it just as firmly as if I had. In regard to the 
quotation, Hone must have made some mistake, for nothing of the 
kind occurs in Ribadeneira's short notice of St. Patrick. 


which immediately precedes Palm Sunday $ and was va- 
riously called^ Mothering Sunday, Rose Sunday, Latare 
Sunday, Care or Carl Sunday, Passion Sunday, and Re- 
freshment Sunday. The name of Mid-lent speaks for itself, 
and needs no explanation. Mothering Sunday may involve 
a question 3 yet it seems highly probable that it came in 
the first instance from the Roman Hilaria,* a festival held 
by the ancients in honour of the Mother of the Gods. 
The Catholic Clergy, who could not well get rid of a 
holiday so firmly established with the multitude, turned it 
to their own purpose, as they did so many other ancient 
festivals, and introduced a custom amongst the people 
of visiting the Mother Church, to make their offerings at 
the high altar ; which, in some way or other, was supposed 
to be typical of the Jerusalem above, "the mother 
of us all." t 

In process of time, after the Reformation had su- 
perseded the ancient faith, the oblations brought to the 
Church were converted into gifts presented by children to 
their parents 5 hence some have erroneously derived this 
designation from the latter eustom, in utter ignorance, it 
would seem, that such affectionate remembrances were but 
the shadows of an older ceremony. But whatever we 

• The HilariOf from which we have got our term of Hilary, took 
place at the time of the vernal equinox, being the eighth of the 
kalends of April, and was evidently borrowed from the Egyptians. 
The Mother of the Gods, the Earth — " quis enim ambigat matrem 
Deilm terram haberi ?*' — rejoiced in the return of Sol, just as Isis 
was supposed to mourn or rejoice for Osiris according to the change 
of season. There is surely deep meaning and much beauty in these 
religious fables of the old heathens, however they may have been 
disfigured by the gross additions of popular superstitions. In all of 
them there breathes a profound spirit of veneration for the One, the 
Omnipotent, through the medium of his works. For the ceremonies of 
the day consult Macrobkts Saturnaliorum, Lib. 1, Vol. 1, p. 313. Bi- 
ponti, 1778. 

t Galat. iv. 26. 

^ .• 


may choose to consider its origin, the thing is beyond all 
question, as the following instance will show, and hundreds 
might be given were it at all requisite : — '* I happened to 
reside last year near Chepstow, in Monmouthshire, and 
there for the first time heard of Mothering Sunday, My 
enquiries into the origin and meaning of it were fruitless ; 
but the practice thereabouts was for all servants and 
apprentices on Mid-Lent Sunday to visit their parents 
and make them a present of money, a trinket, or some 
nice eatable ; and they are all anxious not to fail in this 
custom.*** j 

It had the title of Refreshment Sunday or Dominica de 
Panibus, because the miracle of the five loaves in the 
holy gosj^l was then explained in the Roman Church.f 

The name of Rose Sunday, or Dominica de Rosd, was 
also given to this day — an appellation it received from 
tlie Pope's carrying a golden rose in his hand, which he 
exhibited to the people in the streets as he went to cele- 
brate the Eucharist, and at his return. J If we may believe 
Durandus this rose had a twofold signification, according 
as it was explained, after the letter, or in the spirit. 
Taken in its literal meaning it signified that the faithful, 
who might be supposed worn out by the long fast, were 
now to indulge themselves, for it was a season which the 
church allowed and wished to be one of general enjoyment. 
Three things, therefore, belong to this day j charity after 
fasting ; joy after sorrow ; and satiety after hunger 5 
all of which are typified in the qualities of the rose ; cha- 
rity in its colour ; joy in its perfume ', and satiety in its 
flavour 5 for the rose above all flowers delights by its 
colour, refreshes by its perfume, and comforts by its 

* Gentleman's Magazine, Feb. 1784 
t Festa Romanorum, p. 36. London, 1677. 
X Shepherd's Elucidation qf the Book of Common Prayer^ Vol. 2, 
p. 100« 



flavour. In addition to this the rose in the hand of the Ro- 

man Pontiff signifies the joy of the Israelites when by the 

grace of Christ they were permitted to return from their 

Babylonish captivity. And many other reasons there are, 

equally metaphysical and equally cogent, as to the literal 

meaning of the cereniony. 

Next as to its spiritual import. The rose is that flower, 

which says of itself in the Psalms, " I am the flower of 

the field, and the lily of the valley." It is the flower of 

flowers, 1. e. the holy of holies, all its qualities having a 

symbolical reference to the superiority of the Church, 

which they who wish to understand will do well to consult 

Latare Sunday was derived from the first wo|fl of the 

Introit, '^ Latare Jerusalem, et couventum facite omnes, 

qui diligitis cam 3 gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia 

fuistis, ut exultetis et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis 

ve8trae.'*t Rejoice, O Jerusalem, &c. 

Care or Carl Sunday was one of the most general 

appellations given to this day, and is that' which has 

occasioned the greatest trouble to antiquarians, who, 

when they had found the truth, could not keep fast hold 

of it, but preferred exhausting their ingenuity in a parcel 

of vain conjectures. In the first place it should be 

remembered that rites more peculiarly appropriate to 

Good Friday were used by the Roman Catholics on this 

day^ from which they also called it Passion Sunday -, and, 

taking this for our guide, we shall have no difficulty in 

understanding what follows. Amongst the Germans, 

Good Friday had not unfrequently the name Karr or 

Carrfreitag, as Passion Week had that of Carwoche, 

meaning the penalty of a crime, or rather the satisfying of 

• Rationale Divin, Officio, p. 207. 4to. Venetiis, 1609. 
t Shepherd's Ehiddatum of the Book of Common Prayer^ vol. >, 
p. 101. 


an imposed penalty ; * and it might therefore allude either 
to man's redemption by the Passion of Christ, or to the 
peculiar fasts and penances which all Christians endured 
more particularly at this solemn season^ to obtain the 
Church's remission of their sins. 

* The meaning of the Word rests upon too good authority to be 
doubted. Hospinian, De Origine Fest, Christ, (fol. 64) says ** Ger- 
mani banc septimanam — i. e. hebdomadam Passionis — ^vocant die 
Karrwochen a vetusto illo Germanico vocabulo, Karr, quo mulctam, 
seu pcenam pro delicto, vel potius satisfactionem pro pcend. et mulclil 
nominarunt. Quando euim in foro judiciali reus, pro mulctlL a 
judice sibi impositl^ laeso pro injuria damnore satisfaclt, dicimus, "er 
hat ihm ein abtrag, karr^ oder aberwandel gethan." Ab hoc civili 
usu postea sacrificuli mulctas, quas poenltentibus pro satisfactione 
delictorua imposuerunt, etiam in Latinsl lingui Grermanico vocabulo 
nominftrunt Carrinas. Alii tamen scribunt Carenam^ et a carendo 
derlvant. Est hujus vocabuli frequens usus apud Burckhardum, 
Uvormacise episcopum circa annum Domini, 1020, lib. 9. et in vetustis 
indulgentiarum bullis. Fuit igitur carena apud veteres in ecclesi^ 
jejunium aliquot dierum in solo pane et aqu&. Voc&runt ergo hebdo- 
madam banc Germani die Karrwochen^ qudd in ek poenitentiam, 
hominibus a s&cerdote impositam, communiter omnes agerent jeju- 
niis, vigiliis, &c., pro peccatis admissis, quft, se Deo satisfacere posse 
falsd persuasum habebant. Potest tanien pio sensu sic vocari sep- 
timana hsec; in e& siquidem pro mulcts, a justo Deo humano generi 
im posits, filius Dei in cruce morte sud satisfecit, eosque ab aetem& 
damnatione liberavit. Ob easdem causas quoque dies .Dominicte 
passionis, der Kanrfreitag appellatur." tiospinian De Orig. Fest. 
Christ, p. 54. Fol. Tiguri. 1612. It may be thus translated— *' The 
Germans called this week Karrwoche, from that ancient German 
word, Karr, by which they signified the mulct or penalty for an 
oifence, or rather the satisfaction of the mulct or penalty. For when 
in our courts of law, the condemned acquits himself to the injure^ 
party of the fine imposed upon him by the judge for the wrong done, 
we say that he has made amends, or given Karr^ i. e. satisfaction. 
From this judicial use of the word, they afterwards called by the 
name of Carrinas the penance imposed by the priestlings on their 
penitents in satisfaction of their sins, the German phrase passing even 
into the Latin language. Others, however, write carenam, and derive 
it from carendo. The use of this word is common with Burckhard, 


It was customary on this day to give a dole of beans to 
the poor^ under the name of cartings, a word formed from 
carr just as dearling is the diminutive of dear ; and even 
when the nature of the dole was changed, still it preserved 
the same appellation. Beans^ peas^ furmety, and what- 
ever was the peculiar gift of the season^ all were called 
carlings. Some, however, would derive carl, and care or 
carr, from two different roots, and would persuade us the 
day is called Carl Sunday because the gifts then made are 
to the carl or ceorl, i. e. husbandman. But this is too 
absurd to need refutation. 

In some parts the word carling would seem to have 
been corrupted into Whirlin or Whirling. Thus a writer 
in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1789, p. 491, ft»serves, 
that " in several villages in the vicinity of Wisbech, in the 
Isle of Ely, the fifth"— qy. fourth }—'* Sunday in Lent 
has been for time immemorial commemorated by the 
name of Whirlin Sunday, when cakes are made by almost 
every family, and are called from the day whirlin cakes** 

the Bishop of Worms, about 1020, and also in the old Indulgences. 
CarenOf therefore, was amongst the old ecclesiastics a fast of some 
days upon mere bread and water. Hence the Germans called this 
week, Care-week, because all men performed in it the penance, im- 
posed by the priests for their acknowledged sins, with fasts, vigils, 
&c., by which they falsely persuaded themselves they might satisfy 
God. This week, however, may b^ so called in a pious sense; 
inasmuch as the Son of God by his death upon the cross satisfied 
the penalty imposed by the Pivine Judge upon the human race, and 
freed them from eternal damnation. For the same reasons the day 
of our Lord's Passion is called Car-Friday." 

* Brand and his faithful Sancho Panza have fallen here into a 
strange error. They quote as an instance of whirling cakes, or at 
least of something to be eaten under the name of whirling the follow- 
ing passage from the AnnaUa Dubrensiay or Coinoold Games; 

** The country wakes and whirlings have appear'd 
Of late like foreign pastimes,** 

G 2 


Originally beans were amongst tbe doles given . at 
funerals,* which will account tolerably well for their use 
upon. a (lay sacred to the passion of Christ. But the 
custom has, beyond doubt, been borrowed from the 
ancients, who had some strange notions respecting this 
kind of pulse. They fancied that in the blossom of the 
bean they could read the word luctus, or grief, and held 
that they belonged to the dead^ whose soul resided in 
them. There were, however, many religious uses of 
beans amongst the Romans. Ovid, when speaking of 
the offerings made at certain periods to the dead, says, 
ihe sacrificer rises with naked feet, and having washed 
his hands, flings black beans over his shoulder, e?cclaiming 
at the same time, " with these beans I redeem myself 
and mine."t This istepeated nine times without looking 
behind him, in which case the ghost follows and/ picks 
them up, though what he does with them the poet has 
forgotten to teU us. J 

Surely a cake cannot be called a pastime, however amusing 
may be the eating of it. Any one but Sir Henry Ellis must at once 
see that this is an allusion to the Northern ffame of curling, 
' * " Fabis Roman! scBpius in sacrificiis funeralibus operati sunt, nee 
est ea consuetude abolita alicubi inter Ghristianos, ilbi in eleemosy- 
nam pro mortuis fabae distribuuntur." — Moresim Papatus, in voce. 
t Terque manus puras fontani perluit undft. ; 
Vertitur, et nigras accipit ante fabaSy 
Aversusque jacit ; sed dum jacit, ** haec ego mitto ; 

His,*' inquit, ** redimo meque meosque fabis." 
Hoc novies dicit, nee respicit. Umbra putatiur 
Colligere, et nuUo terga yidente sequi. 

Fastorum, Lib. y. V. 435, et seq. 
t Skelton in his Colin Clout gives another example of this custom : 

" Men call you therefore profanes. 
Ye pick no shrympes nor planes ; 
Saltrfish, et<, nor herring, 
It ie not for your wearing. 


Pliny is exceedingly minute upon this subject^ and 
though what he has said in regard to it must of course 
be familiar to many, it is yet interesting enough to be 
repeated in the old translation by Philemon Holland — 
" Moreover by ancient rites and religious ceremonies at 
the solemn sacrifice, called Fabaria, the manner was to 
offer unto certaine Gods and Goddesses beane cakes. This 
was taken for a strong food, being eaten with a thicke 
grewell or pottage 5 howbeit, men thought that it dulled 
a man's senses and understanding, yea, and caused 
troublesome dreams in the night ', in regard of which 
inconveniences, Pythagor as e^xpressly forbade to eat 
beans ; but, as som^ have thought and taught, it was 
because folks imagined that the soules of such as were 
departed, had residence therein ; which is the reason also 
that they be ordinarily used and eaten at the funerals and 
obsequies of the dead. Varro also affirmeth that the 
great priest, or sacrificer, called the tlamine, abstaineth 
Irom beanes both in those respects aforesaid, as also for 
that there are to be scene in the flower thereof certain 
letters or characters that shewe heavinesse and signes of 
deathe. Furthermore there was observed in old time a 
religious ceremonie in beanes 5 for when they had sowed 
their grounds, their manner was, of all other corne, to 
bring backe with them out of the iielde some beanes for 
good^lucke sake, presaging thereby that their come would 
returne home againe unto them ; and these beanes were 
thereupon called in Latin, Re/riva, or Referiva, Like- 
wise, in all port-sales, it was thought that if beanes were 
intermingled with the goods offered to be sold they would 
be luckie and gainful to the seller. This is certain, that 

Nor in holy Lenton season \. 

Ye will n^ltSSffieanes nor peason. X 
But ye look to be let loose 
To a pigge or to a goose." 



of all the fruits of the earth, this only will be fiill and 
sound when the moon is croisant, notwithstanding^ it were 
growne and hidf eaten before.*' — ^Plinie's Natural Historie, 
Book- 18, c. 1^.* 

At Newcastle-upon-Tyne^ grey peas, steeped for a 
night in water and fried in butter, were substituted for 
beans, though for what cause does not appear, unless 
from being more palatable, or more suitable to the season. 

* In the Latin, however, it is cap. 30 and not 12. The real cause 
why the Pythagoreans held beans in so much yeneration was kept a 
profound secret both by the philosopher and his disciples, the pride 
of possessing an exclusiTe mystery being found sufficient to subdue 
the usual raotiyes for talking. Jamblichus, in his life of Pythagoras, 
(cap. 31. p. 393, 8yo. Leipsic 1815,) relates a story of the Lacede- 
monian Timycha, the wife of Myllius the Crotonian, which equals the 
savage fortitude of Regulas.— Dionysi«s, the tyrant of Syracuse, 
haying in vun tried to conciliate the friendship of the Pythagoreans, 
sent out his soldiers to hunt them down and destroy them, and his 
emissary succeeded in surprising a small party of them, who imme- 
diately took to flight. Being perfectly unincumbered they would 
have escaped their pursuers, but unluckily they came upon a field of 
beans at that time in full blossom, when, sooner than violate their 
creed by treading on the sacred legumes, they turned to bay, and 
fought to defend themselves with sticks and stones. In a short time 
they were all slaughtered. The soldiers, now returning, chanced to 
meet Myllius and his wife Timycha, who had been left behind by 
their friends because the advanced pregnancy of the latter prevented 
her keeping up with them in their flight. Satisfied with the previous 
bloodshed the soldiers forbore to harm them, but carried Uiem to 
Dionysius, and he, having heard the tale and being urged by curi- 
osity promised them not only their lives but all sorts of reward and 
honour if they would only explain why their companions had 
preferred dying to tr amplinfi; ,n pf^Ti thfl J'**"*'" — " And I,'' said 
Myllius, ** would rathliThave trod down the beans than reveal the 
reason of such abstaining.'' Hereupon Dionysius ordered Myllius to 
be taken out of his sight, and the torture to be applied to Timycha, 
imagining that pain and terror would force her to confession. But 
the heroic woman bit her tongue in half that it might not betray her, 
Jind spate it in his face. 


The vestiges of this custom are frequent^* and it would 
seem that green peas too were often used^ for Fos- 
brooke tells us in his British Monachism, " At Barking 
Nunnery^ the annual store of provisions consisted of malt, 
wheats russeaulx (a kind of allowance of corn) and to 
bake with eels on Sheer Thursday ; green pease for Lent, 
gre^i pease against Mid6ummer^"t and he adds in a 
note taken from the Order and Government of a Noble- 
man's House in the thirteenth volume of the Archseologia, 
p. 373, that " if one will have pease soone in the year 
following, such pease are to be sowenne in the waine of 
the moone at St. Andro*s tide before Christmas." 

But these doles, at all events in later times, do not 
appear to have been confined to either peas or beans. 
Furmety also was a standing -dish, a word derived by 
metathesis from the Latin, frumentum ; it was made of 
what in Yorkshire was called, kneed wheat, that is, whole 
grains first boiled plump and soft, and then put into 
milk, when the mess was a second time boiled, and after^ 
wards spiced and sweetened. It is also mentioned by a 
correspondent in the Gentleman's Magazine,! who says, 
** some things customarily probably refer simply to the 
idea of feasting or mortification according to the season 
and occasion. Of these perhaps are Lamb's Wool with 

• In the Glossary to The Lancashire Dialect, 1776, callings are 
thus explained : *^peaa, boiled on Care Sunday are so called." But 
the following account from a correspondent of the bland Sylvanus 
Urban, when speaking of the Northumberland custom, is yet more 
complete : *' The yeomanry in general steep peas, and afterwards 
parch them, and eat them in the afternoon, and call them CarUnga. 
This is said by an old author to have taken its rise from the disciples 
plucking the ears of com and rubbing them in their hands." 
Gentleman's Magazine, vol. Ivi. a.d. 1786. p. 1. 410. Whoever 
was the old author alluded to, he must have known very little oX 
Pagan ceremonies. 

t Vol. ii. p. 127. 

+ For 1783, p. 578. 


Christmas Eve 3 Furmety, on Mothering Sunday 3 Brag- 
got, which is a mixture of ale, sugar, and spices, at the 
Festival of Easter; and Cross Buns, Saffron-cakes, or 
Symnels in Passion Week ; though these being, formerly at 
least, unleavened, may have a retrospect to the unleavened 
bread of the Jews, in the same manner as Lamb at Easter 
to the Paschal Lamb." The last remark seems very superflu- 
ous; but it is curious to see how soon our ancestors got rid 
of their mess of peas and beans, and how constantly they 
celebrated their fasts by eating something nicer than usual. 

There was yet another custom peculiar to this day, 
which seems worthy of notice, although it was con- 
fined, as far as I know to Franconia. It has been thus 
described : '* In the middle of Lent, the youth make an 
image of straw in the form of Death as he is usually 
depicted, and this they carry about upon a pole to the 
neighbouring villages, with much shouting. By some it 
is received kindly ; they refresh the bearers with milk, 
peas, and dried pears, the common food of the season, 
and then send it home again ; but others, deeming it a 
presage of evil — of death perhaps — repel it from their 
boundaries with abuse and violence."* 

The most important saint of this month is St. Cuthbert, 
whose whole life from infancy was emblazoned in a win- 
dow of Durham Cathedral, hence called St. Cuthbert's 
Window. By the nine altars is his tomb, '* with most 

* In medio qaadragesimffi, quo quidem tempore ad Iffitiiiam nos 
ecclesia adhortatur, juventus in patria mek ex stramine imag^em 
contexit, quae mortem ipsam (quemadmodum depingltur) imitetur ; 
inde haslft Buspensa in yicinos pagos vociferans portat. Ab aliquibus 
perhumand suscipitur, et lacte, plsis, siccatisque pyris (quibus turn 
vulgo yesci solemus) refecta, domu remittitur ; i^ ceeteris, quia maliB 
rei (ut puta mortis) prsnuncia sit, humanitatis nihil prscipit, sed 
armis et ignomini& etiam adfect& k finibus repellitur." — Orhis Terra- 
rum Epitome, per Johannem Boemum Aubanum, p. 237, 12mo. Papie, 


curious workmanship of fine and costly green roarble, all 
lined and gilt with gold/'* which was so much frequented 
and enriched by pilgrims and others, " that it was esteemed 
one of the most sumptuous monuments in all England.*' t 
The top of the shrine was made to move up and down by 
means of lines to which silver bells were attached, and on 
St. Cuthbert's Day in Lient, the cover being lifted, the bells 
'' made such a goodly sound that it stir d all the people's 
hearts within the church to repair to it. . . . Also 
within the said feretory t on both north and south side 
there were ambries § of fine wainscot, varnished and 
finely painted^ and gilt over with fine little images very 
beautiful to behold for the reliques belonging to St. 
Cuthbert to lie in ; and when his shrine was drawn the 
said ambries were opened, that every man that came 
thither at that time might see the holy reliques therein." || 
But this splendid shrine was forbidden to women. St. 
Cuthbert it seems was a mysogunist^ and would allow no 
women to come near Ms tomb, having been sorely scan- 
dalized during his lifetime by a fair piece of frailty, who 
finding herself likely to disgrace the king, her father, laid 
the blame of her seduction to St. Cuthbert — ''that solitary 
young man who dwelleth hereby is he who hath over- 
come me/' said the lady, whereupon the saint in great 
alarm uttered a fervent prayer, and the earth opened and 
swallowed her up. The king at this convinced of Cuth^ 
bert*s innocence now in turn begged forgiveness, which 

* Ancient Rite§, &c., p. 6. f Idem, p. 8. 

X A feretory is the sarcophagus in which the body lies, from the 
lAiin/eretrttm, Vide Ducange, sub voce. 

{ Ambrey is derived by Minshew from the Latin, armorium, 
•* forte qudd esset olim precipu^ pro armoru conservatione — perhaps 
because it was formerly used chiefly to keep arms in.*' — He explains it, 
however, to mean a cupboard, and it is likely enough that he may be 
more correct than Barrett, who derives it from the French, aumoniere. 

^^^Andent Ritea^ p. 9. 

I G 5 


the saint granted upon condition that no woman was 
allowed to approach him for the future. Hence even 
after his death his faithful disciples would not allow any 
woman to come near kis feretory, last they should dis- 
turb the sleep of the saint even in the tomb. 

Lady 'Day, or the Day of Annunciation^ is only an 
abridgement of Oar Ladys-Day^ and is peculiarly dedi- 
c9XeA. to the Virgin Mary, from its having been the season 
when the angel announced to her that she should bring 
forth a Son.* Its near approach to the vernal equinox, 
one of the natural divisions of the year, was, it may be 
supposed, the reason of its being called Quarter Day, 
since it marks, though not quite correctly, the first of the 
four quarters. Beyond this, the month has no day requir- 
ing a particular notice. 

* St. Luke, chap. I, v. 31, et seq. 




Aaiongst the many supernatural tales that have emanated 
from professed ghost-seers^ I know of few that in the 
semblance of truth go beyond old Sully's account of 
Louisa de Budos. He was so complete a matter-of-fact 
personage, wore so respectable a beard^ arid was so stiff, 
not to say grim, in his outward man^ that no one could 
suppose him guilty of anything in the shape of weakness. 
The style too is singularly indicative of the man. He 
believes with a sincerity of spirit that scorns all ornament 
derived from the imagination, and narrates with so little 
attempt to convince, that it would be really a want of 
Christian charity not to give him credit for all he is 
pleased to advance. The following is the substance of 
his story, though the version is somewhat of the freest. 

This is what is related of Louisa de Budos, the lady 
of the Constable Montmorency, and as it was affirmed by 
the noble dames then at her mansion. She was convers- 
ing with them gaily in her cabinet, when one of her 
women entered in great perturbation, and informed her 
that a stranger of goodly presence, — saving that he was 
quite black and of gigantic stature — ^had just entered the 


ante-chamber, and desired to speak with her on matters 
of importance — " What was the nature of his communi- 
cation?'* — he could tell no one but herself. " What was 
he like ?** — something very strange and awful, and bis 
figure cast no reflection upon the mirrors as he past. 
The lady was visibly alarmed, as well she might be, at 
this account ; she turned pale, and it was with infinite 
difficulty she could so far master her feelings as to 
desire her abigail to entreat the gentleman, in her 
name, that he would defer his very agreeable visit till 
another time. Upon this message being duly conveyed 
to him, he replied in a tone expressive of any thing but 
satisfaction, that \f the lady would not come to him, he 
must be under the necessity of going to her, which be 
apprehended might not prove quite so pleasant. The 
noble dame seemed to be much of the same opinion ; 
if she had little fancy for a private interview, she had 
still less for one in public, and therefore, though with 
visible reluctance she at length made up her mind to 
comply with an invitation, which, to say the truth, had 
very much the nature of a royal request — that is of a com- 

Who the stranger was, or what passed at the meeting, 
was never known except by conjecture, and as every one 
can conjecture for himself it will not be necessary to 
repeat, even if we knew, all that was imagined upon this 
occasion. History should only deal with facts. Enough 
therefore that when the lady returned to her friends she 
was bathed in tears and seemed half dead with terror. In 
a few hurried words she assured them that she should 
never see them more, and scarcely was the sad prophecy 
spoken than she was seized with the most frightful con* 
vulsions, to the general alarm of all present. Her face, 
once so remarkable for beauty, in a few minutes under- 
went a change that was truly terrific j the art of the 


physicians availed nothing 3 in three days she died^ leaving' 
some suspicious folks to imagine she was poisoned^ and 
the wiser part of the world to believe that she had de- 
parted by virtue of a previous contract with the arch- 
fiend himself. 

Such in substance is the story which Lawes has re- 
peated in his Memorials, and which, not being able to 
imitate his laudable gravity, I have therefore told after 
my own fashion. 




It is wonderful how Paracelsus has so long escaped 
being made the hero of a romance. He had all the 
qualifications for such a part^ being an inextricable com- 
pound of credulity and knavishness^ vanity and talent, a 
firm belieyer in the cabbala, yet an enemy to the estab- 
lished absurdities of science, and, to the .boot of all, a 
vagabond of the first order, who had visited almost 
every country, and associated with every class of people, 
from the learned and the noble, to the most ignorant and 
humble. Yet justice has hardly been done by any writer 
to this singular personage. His alchemy and his astro- 
logy have always stood in the way of a fair estimate of 
his character, though there seems to be good reason for 
concluding that in these matters he did but believe with 
his age, and was only not wiser than the rest of the 
world in which he lived. Even Philip Melancthon was 
skilful in casting nativities^ holding astrology to be a 
part of medicine and equally well grounded as the science 
itself, though he allows that the physicians went rather 
too far when they derived all changes in the human body 
from the stars. Nay, even his most violent opponents 


are not free from bis errors. The learned and distin- 
guished Sennert,* while bitterly reproaching him for that 
he thought to oyerturn the ancient art of medicine^ which 
he never thoroughly understood^ yet allows he had done 
something in the transmutation of metals. With infinite 
gravity he relates, on the authority of a certain Franciscan^ 
how Paracelsus made gold out of lead and quicksilver 3 
and as the story may be of some use in the present age, 
when the precious metal is not too abundant, we shall 
give it in few words, hoping that whoever makes his for- 
tune by the experiment will not forget from whom he 

* Vide Sennerii Op. p. 192. Lugduni, 3676 : which edition con- 
tains the whole six volumes compressed into one, but with con* 
siderable improvements. This eminent scholar and physician was 
bom at Breslaw, the capital of Silesia, on the 25th of November, 
1572. His father pursued the humble occupation of a shoemaker, 
but seems to have given him an excellent education, for we find him 
at the age of one-and-twenty studying medicine and philosophy at 
the uniyersity of Wittemberg, where he took his degree of Doctor of 
Physic, and at a year's end was made professor of the same faculty. 
It is said in his life prefixed to the folio, that he was the first who 
introduced the study of chemistry into that university, and through- 
out his works we find him almost as bold in denying the authority 
of the ancients as Paracelsus himself whom he censured. His heresy 
on this point gave great offence to the schoolmen, though their out- 
cries do not appear to have diminished either his practice or his 
reputation. But he did not rest here : he wrote upon the Nature and 
Origin of Souls in Brutes — ** De Origine et Natiura animarum in 
Brutis ;** p. 285, — and as this doctrine fairly led to the conclusion 
that an immortal spirit was not confined to man alone, he was in 
consequence accused of blasphemy and impiety, those vague words 
which have sent so many to the faggot. There is an excellent 
article in Bayle upon this subject which will save much time and 
labour to those who are too indolent to wade through Sennert's own 
defence of his creed, though it is well worth reading, if it were only 
to learn what strange fancies can possess themselves of the human 
brain. Amongst other things he maintained that metals and minerals 
were formed by intelligent and spiritual beings. He died of the 
plague at Wittemberg on the 21st of July, 1637. 


acquired the recipe. Thus then it is : — Paracelsus being 
one day in want of money^ a mishap very common to 
philosophers of all kinds, he gave a florin to one of his 
pupils, and desired him to fetch a pound of quicksilver 
from the chemist's. Having obtained what he required, 
he flung it into a crucible, and set it upon the fire 5 and 
when the mercury began to emit fumes, he gave a certain 
globule to the Franciscan, directing him to hold it im- 
merged in the preparation by means of a pair of forceps, 
till such time as it should deliquesce. When this took 
place, he again placed them both upon the stove. They 
then all quitted the room 3 for it seems the devil of gold- 
making is a modest devil, and objects to work before 
strangers ; but upon their return, in about half an hour, 
they found he had faithfully done his duty : the crucible 
was broken, and the composition transmuted into nearly 
a pound of the precious metal, for which a neighbouring 
goldsmith did not hesitate to give an equivalent in coin. 
What was the precise nature of the globule, the Fran- 
ciscan never could find out ; nor whether his preceptor 
made it or bought it ; but he describes it as being of 
moderate size, something like a filbert, and enclosed in 
red sealing-wax. 

The birth and parentage of our learned doctor, like 
those of many other great personages, has been a subject 
of much controversy. He chose to call himself, or he 
duly inherited the name of, Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus 
Paracelsus Bombast von Hohenheim ; * but there were not 
wanting unbelievers to call in question his claim to this 
constellation of titles, of which the Bombast seems to have 
been peculiarly applicable, considering the style of many 

* Properly Philip Bombast yon Hohenheim ; but he added Theo- 
phrastus and Paracelsus as if he were something more than oelaua,— 
high, or lofty,— j>ara being a favourite prefix of his to express pre- 
eminence of any quality. 

THE Life and doctrines of paracblsus. 137 

of his writings. Hdler quotes the authority of a certain 
Lorenz ZoUweger, to prove that he was in reality called 
Hochener, and that he was born at Einsiedeln, two miles 
from Zurich^ in the canton of Appenzell. Erastus, one 
of his most bitter opponents^* goes farther. He tells 
us that he won't believe Paracelsus was bom in Helvetia 
— " vix enim ea regio tale monstrum edidit^ — that 
country could hardly have brought forth such a monster*' 
— though he forgets to explain why Switzerland should 
not have its monsters as well as other places ; in our 
days we have seen a Swiss giantess. So vehement is he 
in his wrath, that he will not even allow the Doctor had 
a human father : — " Terrse seu Tartari videtur filius instar 
Merlini cujusdam fuisse — he appears to have been the 
son of the earth, or of Tartarus, like a certain Merlin ;*' 
a supposition, by the way, that must have been rather 
agreeable than otherwise to one who dealt in necromancy 
as well as physic. This, however, is not all : ''vocat se 
Eremitam et nobilis vult videri ; at in Eremo Helvetio- 
rum' nulli sunt Paracelsi, nuUi Hohenhemii, nulli Bom- 
basti — ^he calls himself a native of Einsiedeln, and wishes 
to be thought noble 5 but in Helvetic Einsiedeln there are 
no Paracelsuses^ no Hohenheimers, no Bombastes.'* Now, 
here the anger of our friend Erastus gets the better of 
his discretion ; for there certainly was a noble family of 
that name, as we find one of them recorded by Shenck.f 
We may therefore set it down with tolerable certainty 
that h# was bom where he himself said he was, in the 
year 1493 3 that his mother was the superintendent of 

* Erastus, who was a professor of medicine in the university ~of 
Heidelberg, wrote sundry dissertations) to the amount of two quarto 
volumes, proving, or attempting to prove, that Paracelsus was no 
better than an impostor ; but, as is evident £rom the quotations in the 
text, he was anything but an impartial judge. 

t Observ. lib. i. p. 15. 


the abbey*ho8pital at Ensiedeln *, that his father was 
called Wilhelm Bombast Ton Hohenheim, and was very 
nearly related to George Bombast von Hohenheim^ the 
then grand-master of the order of St. John. 

Worse than these debates respecting the Doctor's 
birth-place is the next tale that Erastus tells, and which, 
though it may be false in detail, is unfortunately too 
true in the principal point, as we know from other 
authorities — '' Hoc in loco narratum mihi est exectos ei 
testes fuisse a milite dum anseres pasceret. Eunuchum 
fnisse, cum alia multa, turn facies, indicant 5 et quod, 
Oporino teste, foeminas prorsus despexit.*' * By some t it 
is said that the accident here recorded, and which it is unne- 
cessary to translate, arose from the bite of a swine $ but the 
fact» however it may have happened, has not been disputed 
and dates from a time when he was only three years old. 
Of the early life of this extraordinary man — extraordinary 
at least in one sense of the word — we know but little. 
If any faith is to be given to his own assertions, he had 
studied for many years at German, Italian, and French, 
universities, X after having been duly instructed in al- 
chemy and astrology as well as medicine by his father, for 
in those days they had all equally the rank of a science ; 
we have Helmont's authority also as to his diligence 
under some of the first masters of the age.§ He says 
of himself, that he had from youth upwards applied him- 

* For this, and the foregoing, quotation, see ** Erasti Disputatio 
de Medicina nova P. Paracelsi," Pars Prima, p. 237. Basilfte. 

t Helmont says, ** Non enim ille Veneri deditus, trivium nempe 
BUS castraverat." Tartari, Hist. p. 222. And Gall, who examined his 
skull, found the organ of philoprogeniUveness undeveloped. 3ee also 
Sprengel, vol. iii. p. 445. 

X Hab also die hohen Schulen erfahren lange Jahr, bei den 
Teutschen, bei den Italischen, bei den Frankreichischen. Dib 
G. WuNDARTZNBi — Vorrcd. 

§ Tart. Hist. p. 222. 


self to the study of medicine^ with an eager desire to learn 
whether it did, or did not, merit the name of a science. 

In this pursuit he seems to have been greatly disturbed 
by finding that the patients, died in spite of physic ^ and he 
somewhat testily declares that there was not a single 
doctor who was able to cure a toothache, yet they all 
nevertheless went richly apparelled, and figured at the 
courts of princes with rings of gold and precious stones 
upon their fingers. Hereupon he took a disgust to medi- 
cine, becoming convinced that it was no more than a 
deception of the evil spirits to lead men astray — ^^'ein 
betrugniss von Geistern den Menschen also zu ver- 
fuhren''* — and resolved to abandon the study of it, when, 
as good luck would have it, he chanced to stumble upon 
that passage of the New Testament, wherein Christ says, 
" they who are whole need not the physician, but they 
who are sick.'* By some odd process of reasoning — but 
Paracelsus was at all times a singular logician — he now 
became convinced that the medical art was neither decep- 
tive nor diabolic, but on the contrary '^as a very necessary 
art to help people out of sickness. Having arrived at 
this conclusion, although by a rather round-about road, 
he again set to work in earnest $ and indeed it must be ac- 
knowledged that he had an inquisitive mind, and a strong 
love of knowledge, though his enthusiastic and credulous 
nature was deeply tainted with the chimerical notions of 
his age. In that boundless spirit of enthusiasm, which 
formed <so prominent a feature of his character, he now 
set out upon his travels, being no more than twenty years 
old when he journeyed through all the countries of 
Europe, east, west, north, and south, after the usual wont 
of students in those days, casting nativities, practising 

* *' Chirargische Bucher und Schriften des P. ParacelsL" This is 
the general title of the whole volume, but the reference is to the 
preface to the Grosse Wundaiznei. 


palmistry^ evoking the dead, and trying all sorts of 
chemical experiments that he had learnt from the miners 
of various districts. If too we may believe the various 
accounts that have come down to us^ he even extended 
his visits to Egypt and Muscovy^ and when on the confines 
of the latter he was taken prisoner by the Tartars and 
carried before their Khan. By some means, not very 
clearly explained, or indeed not explained at all, he 
obtained his liberty, and passed over with the Khan's son 
to Constantinople for the purpose of learning the secret 
of the Elixir Vitae from Trismolin, who at the time was 
residing there. Nor did he confine his curious enquiries 
to the learned, for whom by the bye he never seems to 
have entertained too much respect, but eagerly sought for 
information amongst the necromancers, alchymists, old 
women — the distinction is not very evident — and from 
the noble and ignoble. The result of all these enquiries 
and wanderings was that, according to his own account, 
at the age of twenty-eight he had obtained the philoso- 
pher's stone from an alchymist, and acquired so great a 
name by his numerous cures amongst nobles and princes, 
as well as amongst the poor, that in 1526 he was elected 
professor of physic and surgery in the university of Basel.* 
It might, perhaps, however have contributed to his ele- 
vation, that just at this time the introduction of the 
reformed religion into Basel f had stript the university of 
its old teachers, who had left it either for conscience- 
sake, or from compulsion. 

The head of Paracelsus seems now to have been com- 
pletely turned by inordinate vanity. In the November of 
this year we find him writing to Christopher Clauser, a 
physician in Zurich, " he should only compare him with 

* I. Van Helmont, Opera : Hist. Tartari, p. 222 ; and Sprengel, 
V. iii.p.432. 

t Or, as our modern geographers choose to call it, Bale, deriving 
the name from the French Basle, instead of from the German Basei. 


Hippocrates, Galen/ Rasi, and Marsilius Ficinus — that 
every country produced its eminent physician, whose 
theories were precisely suited to the fand in which he was 
born. The Archaus,* or genius of Greece^ had given 
birth to Hippocrates 3 the Archaus^ or genius of Arabia, 
to Rasi ; the Archaus of Italy, to Ficinus -, and that of 
Germany had produced him, Paracelsus.** With this 
conceit of his own " ingine,*' as Ben Jonson would call it, 
he commenced his lectures by openly burning in his 
lecture-room the works of Galen and Avicenna. But 
there must have been both natural talent and acquired 
knowledge amidst all this bombast and self-conceit, for 
it is plain he effected many cures, and even attracted the 
notice of Erasmus, who did not hesitate to consult him 
upon the state of his health. Even if it be true, as 
Sprengel affirms, that he had no time to study books 
deeply, still he had seen much practice, and must in his 
travels have picked up a vast fund of current information 
upon medical topics. We should recollect, too, that in 
his day the lecture - room and conversation with the 
learned supplied in a great measure the deficiency of 
books, besides which he had served as an army surgeon 
for years in a variety of campaigns, and must at least 
have had a practical knowledge of his art. The great 
difficulty in estimating his character is to forget his absurd 
pretepsions and to separate the better part of his know- 

* Paracelsus was amazingly fond of calling old things by new 
names, and hence it is not always easy to understand exactly what 
he means, even supposing him at all times to have imderstood him- 
self. In regard to Archaus^ we are told by Sennert, *' nihil aliud 
istud Tocabulum significat quam quod in scholiis philosophorum et 
medicorum facultatem et virtutem naturalem, aut, si mavis, spiritum 
naturalem, facultatis naturalis ministrum, nominamus— (Sennerti Op. 
p. 193.) — that word signifies nothing else than what in the schools of 
philosophy and medicine we call the natural faculty and virtue, or, if 
you prefer it, the natural spirit, the servant of the natural faculty.'* 


ledge from the astrological and other chimeras with 
which it was mingled, besides that he has been made 
answerable for a multitude of absurd writings, in which 
he had no share whatever. At all events his fame blazed 
forth for awhile like some extraordinary meteor^ as- 
tonishing the people while it excited the bitterest 
hostility amongst his rivals. It was not, however, his 
empiricism they hated, for they themselves were all more 
or less empirics, but his greater success, with high and 
low, rich and poor, besides that he had scoffed at the 
Dagons of their idolatry, and, though himself in darkness 
and only introducing a new form of error, bad at least 
shown that their ways were not the ways of truth. 
While they repeated the dogmas of the old school, and 
despatched people according to the established laws of 
medicine, he ventured upon a new path, picked up recipes 
ever3rwhere and experimented with them upon the human 
body, killing or curing as the fates would have it. Theirs 
was a learned ignorance built upon books, and they never 
killed a patient without being able to quote chapter and 
verse from the ancients for their misdoings. His was a 
practical ignorance, and it would be absurd to deny that 
he often stumbled upon the truth, and effected c^ires 
without at all comprehending their rationale. He was like 
the mechanic, who puts together the finest instruments 
without understanding the laws of geometry. But un- 
fortunately for him he had pitched his claims too high, 
and by pretending to infallibility exposed his title to be 
shaken at the first breath of ill-success. Other physicians 
limited their pretensions, and the exact amount of their 
ignorance therefore was less liable to be detected -, but 
in his case the system was altogether true or altogether 
false 3 there could be no medium, no escape ; and hence 
a few fulures, proceeding from the injudicious use of 
laudanum, were enough to give a mortal blow to his 


reputation. It is likely enough too that these aecideots 
were the more readily beUeved and magnified from the 
general offence given by the excessive rudeness of his 
manners. This was a fault of which nothmg could cure 
him 5 he gloried in it 5* and reproached the courtesy of 
other physicians as a glaring proof of their want of merit. 
Intemperance was a yet more serious charge^ and we are 
compelled to believe it true, since it rests upon the 
authority of Oporinu8,t that faithful friend and disciple, 
who left wife and home to follow hun in his wanderings^ 
and was not to be deterred even by the drunkenness and 
poverty of his preceptor, for poor he often was in spite 
of the philosopher's stone. According to the account 
he has left ns^ and which has not failed to be quoted by 
all the opponents of Paracelsus, the philosopher and 
physician spent whole nights in public houses amongst 
the lowest dregs of the people, not taking off his clothes 
for weeks together even when he did go to bed, sudi was 
his habitual intoxication. Often, too. he would rise in 
the middle of the night, in a state that might well be 
called rabid, backing and hewing about him with bis 
long sword, which on such occasions never left him. and 
which he boasted to have got from the common exe* 
cutloner. Poor Oporinus honestly confesses that in the 
acting of these antics he frequently trembled for his U£e, 
as well he might, if the story be as he tells it. How bis 
patients and pupils endured the doctor is the wonder, for 
it seems he had not the better part of drunkenness, which 
like the better part of valour is discretion, but would 
attend both the sick and the lecture-room when in a 
• Brster Thai der Biieher und Sehriften de$ P. T. Paracelim,- . 

p. 142. Qrto. BaseL 

+ OporiD, or Oporinus, was slesmed printer of Bsle, who, l«Mr 
the more celebrated Stephciw, wrote as well as printed, and inhk day 
had some reputation for scholarship' 


complete state of inebriety 3 nay it was bis custom, if be 
could persuade tbem to it, to make his invalids partake of 
tbese orgies^ that he might cure them, as he said, upon a 
full stomach, a practice that probably did not seem quite 
so outrageous in those times of hard living as it might in 
the present day. Many instances are related of the easy 
impudence with which he treated those who invoked his 
medical aid, and the following, given by Sprengel, is not 
the least pointed. He tells us, that Paracelsus upon one 
occasion, after a night of debauchery, being called in 
to a patient, he went as usual^ unconscious of his situa- 
tion, or indifferent to it, when the first question he asked 
on entering the room^vas, whether the sick person had 
taken anything of late. '' Nothing," was the reply, 
" except the sacrament.** Hereupon our Doctor turned 
upon his heel, exclaiming, " then you don't want me, you 
have got another physician.** But this levity of speech 
ill accords with his general professions, for though he was 
accused of Arianism and of being a contemner of church 
mysteries, yet he made religion the basis of all art, 
insisting repeatedly as he does in the Occujlt Philo- 
sophy, ''that the foundation of these and all other arts 
be laid in the holy Scriptures, upon the doctrine and 
faith of Christ, which is the most firm and sure foundation, 
and the chiefe corner-stone, whereupon the three points 
of this philosophy are grounded."* To be sure this 
mixing up of religion with every thing did not save 
him from the censure of his adversaries. It was con- 
tended that many of his dogmas were impious, and 
amongst other things, Sennert makes it the ground 
of heavy accusation against him, that he maintained 
homunculi might be generated by chemical means only, 
and that the giants and pigmies of other days had been 

* Paracelsus of the Supreme Mysteries of Nature — Prologue — 
By R. Turner. 1655. 


SO called into existence^ with a knowledge of things 
far beyond that of ordinary men. Erastus is even worse, 
and marshals in array seven distinct dogmas, which he 
pronounces blasphemous.* 

He now quarrelled with the magistrates of Bale^ who 
had decided against him in a cause^ which he had insti- 
tuted upon a patient's refusing to pay the fee demanded 
for curing him of the gout. In consequence of his 
libels against his judges he was obliged to fly, and for 
years after led a wandering life, being now settled for a 
short time in one place, and now in another. His fame, 
however, visibly declined, and his hitherto faithful fol- 
lowers began to fall ofif, a circumstance which was not 
forgotten by his enemies in their attacks upon him. To 
these he cavalierly replied, " complaints have been made 
by some of ray runaway servants and pupils, that none 
of them could- stay with me on account of my odd ways. 
Now mark my answer. The hangman has taken to 
himself one and twenty of my flock, and helped them off 
to the other world — Heaven speed them all — how can a 
man remain with me if the hangman will not let him ? 
Or what have my odd ways done to them ? if they had 
avoided the hangman's ways; that would have been the 
true art." t , 

* Erasti Disp. p. 144, et seq. 

t Welter ist auch ein klag ab mir| yon moinen verlassnen knechten 
etUchs theils| und Discipulis auch etlichs theilsj das ihr keiner 
meiner wunderlicher weiss halben kon bey mir bleibe. Da merc- 
kent mein antwort. Der Hencker hat mir zu seinen guaden 
genommen ein und zwenzig Knechtj und von diser Welt nbgethanj 
Gott helff ihn alien. Wie kan einer bey mir bleiben| so in der 
Hencker nicht bey mir lassen will ? oder was hatt ihnen mein wun- 
derliche weiss gethan ? hetten sie den Hencker sein weiss geflohen| 
wer die rechte kunst gewesen. Erater Theil der Bucher und Sekri- 
/ten des P. T. Bombast von Hohenhein, Paracehi ffenanrU, p. 143. 
Basel. 1589. 


146 NEW cuRiosrriES of litbratobr. 

In the same strain he goes on through pages^ inveighing 
alike against doctors, barber- surgeons, apothecaries, ard 
pupils, all of whom filch his secrets, get possession of his 
patients, and then complain of his strange humours ; 
upon which he reasonably enough asics, " solt das ein 
Lamb machen? — is that likely to make a lamb of one ?'' 
— We should think not ; but the doctors of the present 
day can best answer the question. 

Of the remainder of his life we know little, except 
that it was spent in constant strife with his enemies, 
whose numbers appear to have increased with his declin- 
ing reputation. Nor was their enmity confined to words 
alon'e, a coin in which our doctor was fully able to repay 
them, for it seems highly probable that he met with- a 
violent end. Sennert, whom I have so often referred to, 
and who, though very little known, is full of curious 
matter, but in an antique garb, notices a report which 
emanated from Crollius,* of his enemies having taken 
him oflf by poison -, he adds, however, that the belief rests 
upon no sufficient testimony, and that it was much more 
probable Paracelsus died of drunkenness and gluttony,t 
from which assumed premises he draws the very ingenious 
inference, that he could hardly have possessed the philo- 
sopher's stone, since he was unable to ^cure himself. 
He adds too, we know not upon what authority, that for 
many years before his decease, Paracelsus remained 
convulsed and contracted, and finally died at the early age 
of forty-seven. Sprengel, however, gives from Hessling 
another version of his death; he says that our philosopher 
being at a banquet, the servants and other ruffians in the 
employ of his medical enemies hurled him down from a 

* Grollius followed close in the footsteps of Paracelsus, and wrote 
'' Four Tractates on Philosophy Reformed and Improved." I have 
never seen this work except in Pinnell's translation, London, 1657. 

t D. Sennerti Opera, p. 192. Pol. Lugduni, 1676. 


height and broke his neck. In confirmation of this, he 
observes that SOmmering found a deep breach in the left 
temporal bone of Paracelsus^ which had penetrated to the 
bottom of the skull. But who shall say at what time the 
skull received this damage ? it might have been by some 
accident long after the flesh had mouldered from the 

Another report is^ that he died in St. Stephen's Hospital 
at Salzburg, in the year 1541^ which would make him 
forty-eight, instead of forty-seven^ at the time of his 
death, as asserted by Sennert. 

It is no easy matter to understand either the medical, 
or the philosophical theories of Paracelsus^ partly from 
his tendency to mysticism^ and partly because he chose 
to give new meanings to old words^ so that his works in 
fact require a peculiar glossary of their own. Take for 
instance the following. According to his notions, every 
natural body has a superlunar type or models after which 
it has been formed, and the knowledge of this ideal 
he called, by a strange perversion of terms, Anatomy. In 
like manner he explains asirum to be the innate or essen- 
tial power residing in anything, and defines alchemy as 
the art of drawing out the astrum from the metals. 
And more there is of the same kind, for the repetition 
of which our readers would give us few thanks. 

The first article of his medical and philosophical creed 
appears to be, so far as we can understand him, that 
books are of no use, but that physicians must be inspired 
by heaven, and perfected by practice.*- His so-called 
Emanation System supposes an original man flowing from 
the Godhead, in whom, through whom, and by whom all 
things are ; it seems to have been much the same as the 
Pleroma of the Gnostics and Arians. It was based upon 
the general harmony of all things in nature, more par-^ 
* Fon Franjsosischen Blattem^ S. 50i. 



ticularly upon the accordance of the stars with sublunary 
objects. The Platonic idea of all things below having 
been formed after the model of things above was no 
doubt the origin of his system^ but the transition was 
easy enough^ to an enthusiast, from such a notion to that 
of the models themselves actually existing in the sub- 
lunary creations. Hence, as Sprengel well observes, his 
constant comparison of all earthly bodies with the firma- 
ment and the universe, for in them all the parts of our 
form are continued, not actually, but virtually and spiri- 
tually. As a philosopher, the physician recognizes the 
lower spheres, or the existence of the heavenly intelligences 
in sublunary matter ; as an astronomer he recognizes the 
upper spheres, — that is^ he discovers the limbs of the 
human body in the firmament. Every thing that happens 
on earth,, has previously happened above -, and in sleep, 
heaven reveals to man the mysteries of the Cabbala, 
without a knowledge of which no one can pretend to be 
a physician. The first man, Adam, was intimately ac- 
quainted with it, and hence he knew the signs of all 
things, and gave to animals their most appropriate 
names. A principal dogma of this Cabbalistic system 
was Pantheism. 

The whole physiological theory of Paracelsus consisted 
for the most part in the application of the Cabbala* to 
the explaining of the functions of the body, and here 
again we have the harmony of single parts with the 
heavenly intelligences. Yet he does not altogether mean 
us to understand an original connection between the 
stars and the human form 3 neither the creation of man^ 

* The Hebrew Cabbala signifies tradition ; the Artificial consists 
in searching for abstruse significations of any word, or words in 
Scripture ; and the Christian implies a species of magic. It is to the 
second of these that Paracelsus most frequently alludes, either as a 
means of knowledge, or for the purpose of controuling the spirits. 


nor his properties result from the stars, and therefore we 
must not say, '^ man takes after Mars, but rather that 
Mars takes after man, for man is more than Mars and all 
the planets/* He adds too in his usual contradictory 
manner, " although there were no stars man would still 
be what he is ;'' while at the same time he would have us 
believe that the vital power in human beings is an 
emanation from the stars, and originates in the air. 
Thus the sun is connected with the heart, the moon with 
the brain, Jupiter with the liver, Saturn with the spleen, 
Mercury with the lungs. Mars with the gall, and Venus 
with the loins.t In another part he thus determines the 
places of the planets : the sun has influence over the 
navel and the centre of the belly j the moon, over the 
chine 5 Mercury, over the intestines 5 Mars, over the face; 
Jupiter, over the head ; Saturn over the extremities. The 
pulse also is nothing else than the measure of the body's 
temperature after the manner of the six places held by 
the planets. Thus, two pulses under the feet belong to 
Saturn and Jupiter; two in the neck, to Mercury and 
Venus ; two in the temples, to the Moon and Mercury ; 
and the pulse connected with the Sun is below the heart. 
The macrocosm, or great world, has its seven pulses, 
described by the course of the planets, as their cessation 
is signified by the eclipses. In the macrocosm the in- 
fluence of the Moon and Saturn is shown in the freezing 
of water, just as the microcosmic moon, the brain, 
coagulates the blood. Hence, people of a melancholy 
temperament, whom Paracelsu^ chooses to call lunatic, 
have thick blood. Above all, he will not allow us to talk 
of a man's having this or that complexion, but we must 
say, '* that is Mars, or that is Venus." So too must the 
physician know. the planets of the microcosm; the meri- 

+ And also with ra aUola. 


dian, the zodiac, his east and west, before he can explain 
the functions, or heal the diseases of the body 5 the 
meaning of which jargon is that he considers the different 
parts of the microcosm^ i. e. the little world of man, as 
bearing a relation to the planetary world. He then goes 
on to tell us what is learnt by a constant comparison of 
the microcosm, and macrocosm, the great advantage of 
this study being that the scholar needs no preparation, 
but may dispense with the wicked Greek and Latin - 

The human body he held to consist of two parts — the 
material, and the astral, or spiritual, — a favourite creed 
with men like Paracelsus, since it enables them to explain 
the whole theory of apparitions. According to this creed, 
the spirit and the soul are two very different things, the 
spirit, he tells us, being 'Hhe soul of the soul, as the soul 
is the spirit of the body."* But it would weary the reader, 
were we to attempt analyzing the whole body of his 
medical and philosophical system, while a few of his 
doctrines will serve to show, not only his own character, 
but in a great measure the character of the age wherein 
he lived. 

Of Crooked People, This is a subject,' on which Para- 
celsus is very much in earnest. Deformed people, he 
argues, are monsters, and as they could not have been 
made after God*s image, they must have been manufac- 
tured by the devil. "Moreover," he says, "you must 
know that God abhors these kind of monsters, and that 
they are displeasing to Ifim, and that none of them can 
be saved, seeing that they bear not the image of God ; 
whence wee can conjecture nothing else, but that they 
are so formed by the devil, and are made for the deyilPs 
service, because no good work was ever done by a monster, 

• De Pestil. Tractatus Primus. 


but rather all manner of evilly wickednesse» and devilish 
deceits. For as an executioner marketh his sons in 
cutting off their ears, putting out their eyes^ burning their 
cheeks, fingers^ hands, and cutting off their heads, so 
doth the devil mark his sons through the imagination of 
their mothers. Also all men are to be shunned, which 
abound with, or want any member, or have a double 
member. For that is a presage of the devill's and a most 
certaine signe of some occult wickedness and deceit, 
which follows upon it. Wherefore they seldom die with- 
out the executioner, or at least from some marke made 
by him.'** 

Gnomes, spirits, SfC, Under this head, our learned 
doctor informs us with becoming gravity, ''under the 
earth do wander half-men, which possess all temporal 
things, which they want^ or are delighted with. They 
are vulgarly called gnomes, or inhabitants of the moun- 
tains 3 but by their proper names they are called Sylphes 
or Pigmies. They are not spirits as others are, but are 
compared unto them for the similitude of their arts and 
industry, which are common to them with the spirits. 
They have flesh and blood as men, which no real spirit 
hath.*'t He then goes on to tell how these gnomes 
sometimes plague the miners, and at others, being of a 
capricious nature, do them good service, or warn them 
thrice by knocking in the same place. This is a sure 
sign that the miner, who is working there will be des- 
troyed by the falling in of the earth, or some such accident. 

According to the general notion, the devil is a wealthy 
personage, and gives good wages. But this Paracelsus 
stoutly denies, maintaining that '' the devil is the poorest 
of all creatures, so that there is no creature so miser- 

* Paracelsus on " T?ie Nature of Things f*' p. 8. Eng, trans, 
t Paracelsus of** Occult PhUosopky/^ p. 52. 


able and poore^ above or under the earthy or in all the 
other elements. Neither hath he any money or riches, 
nor doth he take^ or require any bonds from men sealed 
in their blood. But there are other spirits, which do 
such things, such as the Sylphes or Pygmies." Unfor- 
tunately this useful class of acquaintance is lost to us ; 
they have all gone somthow, and somewhere^ but how, or 
where even our Doctor can not surmise. He says, how- 
ever, that " the mountain of Venus,* in Italy, was much 
possessed with these spirits, for Venus herself was a 
nymph, and that mountain was by a comparison, as her 
kingdorae and paradise 3 but she is dead whereby her king- 
dome ceaseth to be. But where, or in what place is there 
any mention heard to be made of them as in former time, 
when Danhauserus and many others entered in unto 
them ? Neither did they invent these fables ; they were 
of such a nature and condition that they loved all men 
who loved them, and hated them that hated them. Where- 
fore they gave arts and riches in abundance to them, who 
prescribed and bound themselves to them, and they know 
both our minds and thoughts, whereby it comes to pass 
that they are easily moved by us, to come to us."t Para- 
celsus, however, does not recommend his friends to have 
any thing to do with such dangerous characters notwith- 
standing their amiability; he mentions these facts only as a 
point of natural history that people may learn to distin- 
guish between the devil and these semi-homines, and not 
in Hamlefs phrase, mistake '*a hawk for a handsaw," 
for, in addition to the other differences pointed out, the 
gentleman in black has no body, unless when he bor- 

* This ** Mountain of Venus" is often mentioned by the dealers 
in the supernatural. Tieck in his tale of the " Faithful Eckhart," 
places him there as a monitor to warn people off such dangerous 

t Paracelsus of " Occult Philosophy^* Eng. trans, p. 57. 


rows one for the nonce from the four elements ; neither 
does he die, whereas the Pygmies are clearly subject to 
the rules of mortality. Still it is advisable to be cautious 
how you enter into any contract with such a capricious 
and despotic race, who have a wonderful fancy for twist- 
ing the necks of any one that presumes to thwart them. 
Men have often been found in this plight, whence ignorant 
people, knowing nothing of the Pygmies, have laid all 
the blame upon the devil, though, if he had the inclina- 
tion, he has not the' power to do any thing of the 
kind. Paracelsus was at least original in his doctrines, 
and indeed one part of his system consisted in asserting 
the direct contrary to what was generally believed. If in 
the common opinion any object was black, he would 
maintain that it was white, which love for contradicting 
others is the less to be wondered at as we find him per- 
petually contradicting himself. 

Treasure-seeking. — It appears that there are two sorts 
of hidden treasures, gold namely, — that "is made, coyned, 
and hid by the nymphes and Sylphes, — '** which he says is 
very hard to be got at, and metals in their natural state, 
which are to be found by proceeding as follows : — " first 
under an influence of the Moone, or Satume, and when 
'the moon transits Taurus, Capricorne, or Virgo, is a good^ 
time to begin to seeke or digge after treasures. Neither 
need you use any other ceremonies, nor to draw any 
other circles, or to use any inchantments whatsoever 3 
onely those that dig must be of a cheerful niinde, free 
and alienated from any evil thoughts and cogitations, and 
not to be moved, nor feare any phantasies, visions, or 
imagiUfitions of the spirits 5 although they should cor- 
porally appeare yet they are onely visions. Therefore 
those that dig ought to discourse, sing, and be cheere- 
ful, and not to be affrighted by anything, but to have a 

• Occult Philosophy^ p. 66. 
H 3 


^ood courage 5 and by no means soever let them keepe 
silence as some perfidious negromancers have taught. 

" Now when they come neere to the place where the 
treasure is that it is almost detected, and do heare many 
noises, and strange visions and horrible sights are seene, 
which oftentimes happens to be^ it sheweth that the 
Pygmies and Sylphes are there, who do envy that men 
should have those treasures, and will not willingly part 
from them, especially if it be their own, or such as 
they brought thither. Such treasures are to be left, 
if the keepers thereof consent not. And although they 
may be gotten and taken away as a robbery from those 
keepers, yet they have an art whereby they can change 
these treasures, in this way gained, into a vile and base 
matter, as into earth, clay, dung, and such like things 
as I have seene by examples."* A better mode of keep- 
ing people honest than this of the Sylphs could hardly 
have been devised, for who would steal, when the booty 
was to be so profitless ? 

Of Tempests. — ''The orginal of tempests is certainly 
nothing else but the appearance of spirits 3 and lightning, 
or coruscation, preceding the presence of them ; whereby 
it may be certainly known whether those tempests will 
pass away with or without danger ; and that after this 
manner is to be understood $ to wit, as a stranger will 
not enter into any one's house, unless first he speake, so 
these spirits do not appear unto us without speaking first. 
But their voice is thunder, which as we see, immediately 
follows every flash of lightning. The ringing of bells do 
availe nothing in these cases, although I do not reject 
them, especially in such tempests as are caused by magi* 
cians' enchantments, by reason of the spirits by them 
raised in the air. For the spirits do love silence and 
quietness, whereby it comes to pass that grate noises, 

* Occult Philosophy, p. 66. 


as the sounds of bells and trumpets do partly diminish of 
and disperse tempests by them stirred up. But in 
thunders and haile they do no good, as the monks and 
sacrificers have to their loss too often found. And for 
this cause they used ceremonies, wherewith they seduced 
the vulgar and common people, persuading them that 
besprinkling places with holy water, as they call it, 
preserved them safe from thunder and haile ^ likewise by 
burning holy candles, or some palme, or other herb by 
them ^notified, or with the perfume of frankincense, or 
myrrhe of these sacrificers they were 'preserved secure. '' 

Great is the indignation of our philosopher at such 
monkish tricks, for be had no faith in priests, whatever 
he might have in old women, and he argues reasonably 
enough that if these sacrificers wished to drive away the 
spirits they should use assafoetida and not sweet perfumes. 
But he has a more effectual remedy — " note," he says 
*' that to place a preservative in the centre of a house, 
garden, or a field, avayleth not at all ;'* it must be placed 
at the four angles, east, west, north, and south, upon the 
very obvious principle, that it is safer to stand upon four 
legs than two, and these said legs or pillars are to be of 
*' mugwort, St. John's wort, perriwinkle, celandine, rue, 
and many such herbs and roots, especially if they be 
gathered under the right influence, for that is a main 
point. Yet better even than these are coral and kizoth."'*' 

Evestrum and Traraimes, — The " Evesirum^ or Evester, 
according to its essence is either mortal or immortal. It 
is a thing like a shadow on a wall. The shadow riseth 
and waxeth greater as the body doth, and continueth 
with it even unto its last matter. The Evestrum takes 
its beginning at the first generation of everything animate 
and inanimate, sensible and insensible, and whatsoever 

* The azotht I take it, is the azure-stone, or lazurstone, more 
commonly called Lapis Lazuli, 


casteth a shadow^ all of them have their Evester. 
Trarames is the shadow of an invisible essence. It 
springeth up with the reason and imagination of intel- 
ligent and brute creatures. The Evester maketh to 
prophecy; Trarames giveth sharpnesse of wit. To fore- 
tell what shall befall a man, beast, tree, &c., is by the 
shadowy Evester ; but the reason why it should be so is 
from the Trarame. Some Evesters have a beginning, 
some have not. Such as have a beginning may be dis- 
solved, with the surviving eternal." — ^And much more 
there is to the same purpose, but as this sort of intellec- 
tual food is somewhat hard and indigestible, it is as well 
not to indulge too much in it. 

It may be supposed that Paracelsus could not broach 
these wonderful mysteries, without impertinent enquiries 
being made as to where he got his knowledge. To all 
such carpers he replies by putting in his turn divers pithy 
questions, which, if his data were only true, would be 
BufRciently ingenious. In the tone of a man who feels 
he has the best of the argument, he demands, '^ which of 
your authors or writers taught the bear, when his sight 
is dimmed by reason of the abundance and superfluity of 
his blood, to go to a stall of bees, which by their stinging 
him pierce his skin, and cause an effusion of the super- 
fluous blood ? what physician prescribed the herb, dittany, 
to be a medicine for the hart ? or who taught the serpent 
the virtue of briony and dragon-wort? who taught the 
dog to take grass for his cordial and purge ? and who 
prescribed the salt- sea- water to the stork?*' — As Shak- 
speare*s clown says, "I hope here be truths,'* and with 
them I leave Paracelsus to the judgment of my readers. 



The Grands Jours were a sort of special criminal assizes 
of two kinds, the one Royal^ the other^ Signioral; but 
the latter, though so similar in name, appear to have 
been very different in their uses from those ordered 
by the monarch, of which indeed they are but an imi- 
tation. They were established, in virtue of an ordinance 
of Roussillon, which forbids the nobles to have two 
classes of jurisdiction in the same place, and there was a 
power of appeal from them to the parliament. The right 
of holding these Signioral courts was also accorded in 
ancient days by the king to the princes of the blood 
royal, and sometimes in virtue of a special authority to 
that effect they were constituted courts of final judgment. 
The Royal Grands Jours date from the early times of 
the French monarchy ; they were ordinary, but sovereign, 
tribunals, established by the kings in the form of solemn 
and especial sessions, and over which they themselves 
presided to pronounce definitive judgment in all criminal, 
as well as civil, cases. Under the monarchs of the first 
and second race, they were composed of a certain number 
of persons chosen and deputed by the sovereign, much 


as the commissioners^ called Missi Dominici,* These 
judges were sent into the remote provinces to enquire 
into the conduct of the dukes^ counts^ and other principal 
nobles, to receive any complaints made against them, and 
to reform whatever abuses had crept into the adminis- 
tration of justice or the finances, to the detriment of the 
public weal. They used formerly to be held at stated 
periods, and in some respects they bore a resemblance 
to the assizes. The object of both was the same, but 
they differed essentially in the extent of their power, the 
Grands Jours pronouncing judgment without appeal, in 
addition to which, while the assizes were each attached 
to its particular jurisdiction, the former, as we have already 
seen, were an extraordinary tribunal, without any fixed 
establishment, and were constituted by letters patent sub- 
mitted to the form of registration. 

We find it recorded of Louis XII. that he revived them 
to repress the continued attacks of the nobles upon his 
authority, commanding by an especial ordinance that 
they should be held once a' year in all the towns and 
villages where it previously had been the custom to 
establish them. In a short time however they would 

* There appears to have been no difference in the judicial powers 
of the two, the ''Missi Dominici," or Royal Commissioners f being of 
the same class and having the same objects as the nobles and men of 
influence deputed to hold the Grands Jours. Du Oange tells us that 
the Missi Dominici were sent *' ut in coniitum et judicum pravitates 
inquirerent,'^ that they should enquire into the corruptions of the 
magistrates and judges — ** in ipsos etiam episcopos et abbates inqui- 
rebant," they looked after the bishops and abbots — " curabant ut 
provinciffi latronibus ac praedatoribus purgarentur/' they took care 
that the provinces should be cleared from thieves and robbers — and 
finally "'seligebantur ex ditioribus et honoratioribus palatii, ne si 
pauperiores essent, muneribus corrumperentur/* tiiey were chosen 
from the richest and most respected of the court, lest if they were 
poor they should be corrupted by presents. 


seem to have fallen again into disuse, the last that were 
ever held being at Clermont for Auvergne in the end of 
the year 1665 and the commencement of the year 1666, 
as also at Limoges for Limousin in 1668, and at Puy-en- 
Velay for Languedoc. About this period the wars both 
civil and foreign, which had for thirty years before desolated 
France, bud produced a general state of license wherein 
the strong universally plundered and oppressed the weak. 
This evil was not a little aggravated by the marauding 
habits of the nobles, the difficulty of getting at offenders 
from the universal absence of good roads, and the general 
want of strength in the government. The laws were thus 
in many places reduced to a dead letter, and the most 
frightful disorder reigned in every department, but more 
particularly in Auvergne, 'which being remote from the 
central power of government could get little aid from 
the provincial judges. With them bribery and the in- 
fluence of rank or connexions were unbounded, and under 
the circumstances just mentioned they might be well 
called devoid of all responsibility. To such a height had 
this evil attained, that Louis XIV. at length resolved to 
interfere, and on the thirty-first of August, 1665, he 
established a sitting of the Grands Jours at Clermont in 
Auvergne. The account of their proceedings we owe to 
the Abbe Flechier, afterwards Bishop of Nismes, who 
accompanied one of the members, M. de Caumartin, in 
the capacity of tutor to his son, from whom the father 
was unwilling to be separated. According to the details 
afforded by him, this tremendous tribunal struck a 
wholesome terror into offenders, many of whom preferred 
being convicted of contumacy to awaiting the probable 
results of its judgment. Nor had they who remained and 
appeared .any great cause to rejoice in the wisdom of 
their election. Punishments of all kinds were dealt out 
with an unsparing hand, and the executions even were 


numerous^ proving plainly enough that the social ulcer 
was both deep and dangerous. But amidst these details 
we have others of a less gloomy nature^ the Abbe 
amusing himself mightily with the gossip of the town 
and the awkward manners of the provincials. ** When 
the ladies of the city/* says the author of the Abstract, 
''came to visit the commissioners, the Abbe Flechier, 
who observed every thing with inquisitive eyes, was 
present, and the manner in which he paints this scene, so 
novel to him, is exceedingly pleasant. The ladies arrived 
in troops that they might keep each other in countenance 
and be less remarked. Their manner of presenting 
themselves, their awkward and confused air, their arms 
hanging straight down^ or crossed immovably upon the 
bosom, their costume in which the fashions of the day 
were carried to excess, as is the habit of provincials 
when they plume themselves on dressing well, the affec- 
tation of standing in a circle, according to the rank of 
their husbands, or the date of their marriage ; nothing, 
in short that can complete the picture of perfect absur- 
dity, escapes his observation." Much more there is 
to the same effect — how the judges gave balls to the 
ladies, or accompanied them to the theatre, in the even- 
ing, and the next morning dealt out justice upon all 
offenders — how the prisons were full and the condem- 
nations numerous — and how the alarm reached its height 
when instead of confining themselves, as had been ex- 
pected, to lay criminals, the judges set about reforming 
the clergy, and rectifying the abuses that had crept into 
the chapters and monasteries of both sexes. But even 
the epitome of these things is much too long for our 
purpose, and the reader therefore is referred to the works 
of Flechier himself. 




Writers are by no means agreed in their derivation of 
the Latin name assigned to this month. Ovid stoutly 
maintains that it was called April from the Greek name 
of Venus, 'A^po^tVi/, the deity having been born of d(ppdv^ 
L e, the sea-foam.* At the same time he notices, al- 
though with the contempt becoming a descendant of 
Venus, that there were some who endeavoured to rob the 
goddess of her just rights by deriving the month from 
aperire, to open, because at this season the spring un- 
closes everything, and the prolific earth is open to receive 
the seeds, t Mac robins gives us a variety of derivations for 
the word. First he says that as Romulus called the first 
month of the year March after his father. Mars, so he 
named the second mouth Aprils in honour of the mother of 
^neas -, but he admits that some have imagined the founder 
of Rome to have been influenced by other and more ab- 

* " Sed Veneris mensem Graio sermone notatum 
Auguror ; a spumis est Dea dicta maris. 
Nee iibi sit mirum Graio rem nomine dici, 
Itala nam tellus Grecia major erat.*' 

P. Ovidii Nasonis Fastorum, lib. iv., v. 61. 
t " Quo non liver abiit ? sunt qui tibi mensis honorem 
Eri^uisse velint, invideantque, Venus. 
Nam quia Ver aperit tunc omnia, densaque cedit 
Frigoris asperitas, foetaque terra patet, 
Aprilem memorant ab aperto tempore dictum, 
Quern Venus injects vindicat alma manu." 

P. Ovid. Nas. Fast., lib. iv.. v. 85—90- 


stract considerations, and that as he had given March to the 
slayer of mankind^ so he appropriated April to Venus, 
that her gentleness might temper his ferocity.* Scaliger, 
however, denies the authority both of Ovid and Macrobius, 
and oddly enough chooses to derive April from aper, a 
wild boar, asserting that the Romans in this only imitated 
the Greeks, who called February kXatpriPoXiutv, from the 
striking of deer, which were then immolated to Diana. 
If it were allowable to form one's own opinion where 
such high authorities differ from each other, I should be 
inclined to adopt the conjecture so angrily set aside by 

* ** Secundum mensem nominavit Aprilem, ut quidam putant cum 
aspiratione, quasi Aphrilem, a spumft, quam Grseci d^pbv vocant, 
unde orta Venus crediiur. £t hanc Romuli fuisse asserunt rationem, 
ut primum quidem mensem a patre suo, Marte, secundum ab ^nes 
matre Y enere nominaret ; et hi potissimum anni principia servarent, 
a quibus esset Bomani nominis origo ; cum hodie quoque in sacris 
Martem patrem, Y enerem genetricem vocemus. Alii putant Romu- 
lum» vel altiore prudentilL, vel certi numinis providenti&, ita primbs 
ordinasse menses, ut cum prsecedens Marti esset dicatus, Deo ple- 
rumque hominum necatori, ut Homerus ait, naturae conscius, — 
'Apfc, Apec jSporoXotyg, /iiai^dve, rcixecri^Xfyra— secundus Veneri 
dicaretur quae vim ejus quasi benefica Icniret."— Aur. Maorobii 
Saturnali^rum, lib. i, p. 256, 8yo. Bipont, 1788. — " The second 
month he called AprD, as some think with an aspiration, as if Aphril, 
from the foam, which the Greeks call d0pdv, whence Yenus is 
believed to have sprung. And this they assert to hare been Romu- 
lus* reason ; that, as he named the first month from his father* Mars, 
so he would name the second from Yenus, the mother of iBneas ; 
and that these two should chiefly possess the commencement of the 
year, from whom was the origin of the Roman name ; thus even in 
the present day we invoke in the sacred rites Mars the father and 
Yenus the mother. Others think it was either from a deeper wisdom, 
or by some divine providence, Romulus thus ordained the months, 
that as the preceding one had been dedicated to Mars, the general 
destroyer of men, as Homer says — 

* Mars ! Mars 1 thou homicidal, sanguinary, shaker of walls ! ' 
so the second should be dedicated to Yenus as if by her gentleness 
to temper his violence.'* 


Ovid. The deriving of Aprilis from aperio — of the name 
of the season from its principal characteristic — has at 
least a great show of probability. It is to this opinion 
also that Macrobius inclines, telling us from Cincius and 
Varro, that the ancient Romans had instituted no particu- 
lar festival to Venus in Aprils and how therefore could it 
have derived its name from her ? He then winds up all 
from the same authority by saying, " prior to the Vernal 
Equinox, the skies were clouded, the earth covered with 
snow, and the rivers closed by ice, all of which became 
dispersed and broken. up by spring, and therefore the 
month took its name from this general opening up as it 
were of nature, the trees budding, the streams flowing, 
and earth disclosing its bosom to receive the seeds."* 

The same uncertainty seems to prevail in regard to 
the etymology of the Saxon term for this month, Oster, 
or Oster Monat. Verstegan says, '* they, (the Saxons) 
called April by the name of Oster-Monat, some think of 
a goddess, called Goster, whereof I see no great reason, 
for if it took appellation of such a goddess, a supposed 
cause of the easterly winds, it seemeth to be somewhat 
by some miswritten, and should rightly be Oster, and not 
Goster. The winds indeed by ancient observation were 
found in this month most commonly to blow from the 
East, and East in the Teutonic is Ost; and Ost*End, 
which rightly in English is East End, hath that name for 
the Eastern situation thereof, as to the ships it appeareth, 
which through the narrow seas do come from the Wesf t 

Where Verstegan picked up his Goster, is more than 
I can pretend to say. The G and E being extremely alike 
in the old black letter, it is possible he may have mis- 

• Aur. Macrobie Satumaliorum, lib. i. cap. xii. p. 257. Varro main- 
tains that neither the Latin nor Greek name of Venus vtbb known 
amongst the early Romans. 

t Verstegan, p. 66, 12mo. London, 1675. 


taken the one for the other and thus have built up his 
whole theory upon a palpable blunder, for Eoster, or 
Ecutre, is the usual way> in which the name of the god- 
dess is written. True it is, if we may believe Spelmao, 
that, in some old edition of Bede, Coster is read, and not 
Eoster; but this certainly is not the general reading of 
the editions of that author, and I should imagine it is, 
like the Goster of Verstegan, nothing more than a mere 
typographical blunder. In the copy now before me * the 
text is plain enough, — ''Eosturmonath,qui nunc Paschalis 
mensis interpretatur, quondam a Dek illorum, quae Eostre 
vocabatur, et cui in illo festa celebrabant, nomen habuit " 
— that is, '^Eosturmonath, which is now interpreted to mean 
the paschal month, formerly had its name from one of 
their goddesses (i. e, Saxon goddesses) who was called 
Eostre, and to whom in that month they celebrated 

Every thing now denotes the vivifying influence of 
spring. The birds that had left us during the winter- 
season begin to return, the woods are alive with their 
cheerful notes, and the process of nidification commences. 
The lesser pettychaps, who is the smallest of the willow- 
wrens, and the wood- wren, the largest of the same 
tribe, are now seen upon the wing 3 the bittern begins to 
boomf in marshy places at even-tide, and the heron sails 
heavily from one pond to another in search of fish, over 

♦ Venerabilis Bedae Opera, vol. ii. p. 68. Folio. Col. Agrippintt^ 
t According to some authorities the bittern begins this booming , 
lawinfft or bumping^ as it^ is variously called, so early as March, or 
even February, but it always ceases after the breeding season. It 
is at morning and evening that the bird makes this deep, lowing 
sound, and often while high in the air, its flight being lofly and spiral. 
'* Those," says Lord Montague, *'who have walked in a summer's 
evening by the sedgy sides of unfrequented rivers, must remember 
a variety of notes from dififerent water-fowl; the loud scream of 
the wild goose, the croaking of the mallard, the whining of the 


a large extent of country ; the swallows make their 
appearance^ though not in numbers ; the wryneck comes 
back from its winter residence; the nightingale pours 
forth her song, which whether it be sad or cheerful the 
poets have not yet been able to decide, Milton,* Virgil, 

lapwing, and the tremulous neighing of the jack>snipe. But of all 
these sounds there is none so dismally hollow as the booming of the 
bittern. It is impossible for words to give those, who have not heard 
this evening calli an adequate idea of its solemnity. It is like the in- 
terrupted bellowing of a bull, but hollower and louder, and is heard 
at a mile's distance, as if issuing from some formidable being that re- 
sided at the bottom of the waters. From the loudness and solem- 
nity of the note, many have been led to suppose that the bird made 
, use of some external instrument to produce it, and that so small a 
body could never eject such a quantity of tone. The common peo- 
ple are of opinion that it thrusts its bill into a reed, that serves as a 
pipe for swelling the note above its natural pitch, while others ima- 
gine that the bittern puts its head under wattr, and then by blow- 
ing violently produces its boomings. The fact is that the bird is suffi- 
ciently provided by nature for this call, and it is oflen heard when 
there are neither reeds nor water to assist its sonorous invitations. 
It hides in the sedges by day, and begins to call in the evening, 
booming six or eight times, and then discontinuing for ten or twenty 
minutes it resumes the same sound.'' 

* Milton, as most readers will recollect, thus addresses the night- 
ingale ; 

" Sweet bird that shnnn^st the noise of folly, 
Most musical, most melancholy ! 
Thee, chantress, oft the woods among, 
I woo to hear thy evening song." — B Penseroao. 
Virgil uses the melancholy of the nightingale in an exquisite simile 
to express the grief of Eurydice for Orpheus ; 

" Qualis populea mcerens Philomela sub umbr& 
Amissos queritur fcetus.'*— Ccor^. Lib. iv, v. 511. 
To be sure in this case the nightingale is supposed to have lost 
her young, which may account for her sadness without any general 
disposition to melancholy. 
And Petrarca, in a sonnet written after the death of Laura, says ; 
'^ Quel Rossignol, che si soave piagne 
F6rse suoi figli, o sua cara c<$ns6rte, 


and Petrarch being staunch advocates for the first opinion, 
while Coleridge insists upon it that her notes are any thing 
but melancholy 5 however this may be, it is requisite 
to mention in correction of a very common error that the 
song of the nightingale is not confined to the evening ; 
the bird about the middle of this month sings both early 

Di dolcezza ^mpie il cielo e le campagne 
Con tante note a pietdse e scorte."— Sonnetto Izziy. 
" The nightingale that oft so sweetly grieves 
Perchance her young, or fondly cherish' d mate, 
Whose notes harmonious breathe at Heav'n's gate 
Whilst earth responds the woe her bosom heaves." 

S. WooUaston. 
On the other hand, Chaucer calls the nightingale's song merry ; and 
Coleridge is eloquent upon the same side of the question. 

" All is still ! 
A balmy night, and though the stars be dim. 
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers 
That gladden the green earth, and we shall find 
A pleasure in the dinmess of the stars. 

And hark i the nightingale begins its song, 
' Host musical, most melancholy' bird ! — 
A melancholy bird ? O, idle thought ! 
In nature there is nothing melancholy ; 
But some night-wandering man, whose heart was pierced 
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong, 
Or slow distemper, or neglected love. 
And so, poor wretch, filled all things with himself, 
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale 
Of his own sorrows ; — ^he and such as he, 
First nam'd these notes a melancholy strain ; 
And many a poet echoes the conceit ; 
And youths and maidens most poetical. 
Who lose the deepening twilights of the spring 
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still, 
Full of meek S3rmpathy, must heave those sighs 
O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains. 
My friend, and my friend's sister, we have learnt 
A different lore ; we may not thus profane 


and late throughout the day. Nor is our Fauna yet ex- 
hausted. The red-breast, the throstle, the storm-cock, 
the blackbird, and the black-cap, join in the general har- 
mony. The cuckoo also, though he sometimes appears 
towards the end of March, may also be set down as be- 
longing to the middle of April; according to the old 
Devonshire rhymes, 

^* In the month of April 
He opens his bill ; 
In the month of May 
He singeth all day ; 
In the month of June 
He alters his tune ; 
In the month of July 
Away he doth fly."* 
In Norfolk they have a sort of rhyming proverb much 
to the same purpose, but making the bird's sojourn with 
us a month later ; 

In April, 
The cuckoo shows his bill ; 

In May, 

He sings both night and day ; 

In June, 

He changeth his tune ; 

In July, 

Away he fly ; 

In August, 

Away he mustf 

In addition to these, partridges are still heard by night 5 

Nature's sweet voices, always full of love 

And joyance. 'Tis the merry nightingale 

That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates, 

With fast, thick warble his delicious notes, 

As he were fearful that an April night 

Would be too short for him to utter forth 

His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul 

Of all its music.'' 
« Bray's " Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy." 
t Forster's Perennial Calendar, p. 182 ; but I have take^ the liberty 


the bat makes his appearance ^ and that singular httie 
creature, the mole-cncket, utters its low^ dull, jarring 
note, continued for a long time without intermission, like 
the chattering of the fern-owl. It inhabits the sides of 
canals, and swampy wet soils, in which just below the 
surface it forms long winding burrows and a chamber 
neatly smoothed and rounded, of the size of a moderate 
snuff-box, in which about the middle of May it deposits its 
eggs to the number of nearly a hundred. The ridges 
whieh this insect raises in its subterraneous progress 
interrupt the evenness of gravel walks -, and the havoc it 
commits in beds of young cabbages, legumes, and flowers, 
renders it a very unwelcome guest in a garden.'*' Still 
less pleasant visitors about this time are the snakes, 
snails, earth-worms and beetles. 

The Flora of April is equally extensive with the Fauna. 
Among the principal ornaments of the season are the 
crown-imperial ; the chequered daffodil ; the wall-flower ^ 
which, where the plant is old, now begins to blow and 
continues in flower during the early part of summer, 
though the younger specimens do not blow- till May 5 
and the garden-hyacinth, and the oriental narcissus which 
are seen in blossom out of doors. Daffodils also, jonquils, 
the early sweet-scented tulip, and the anemone begin to 

of arranging the verse somewhat differently, and more in accordance 
with the rhymes. He also gives some curious old lines from 
Heywood in regard to this bird — 

" In April, the Coocoo can sing her song by rote ; 
In June, of tune she can not sing a note ; 
At first, koo-coo, koo-coo, still can she do ; 
At last, kooke, kooke, kooke; six kookes to one koo.'' 

The same authority — ^that is, Forster — informs us ''the cuckoo 
begins early in the season with the interval of a minor third ; the bird 
then proceeds to a major third ; next to a fourth, then to a fifth, after 
which his voice breaks out without attaining a minor sixth." 

* Vide Elprster's Perennial Calendar, p. 198. 


flower^ while the crowsfeet multiply on all sides, and the 
dandelion almost turns the meadows into a field of 
yellow ; the ladies^ smock too and the speedwell are also 
abundant 3 and the early flowers, such as the violet and 
the heart's ease, still continue in full profusion ; but the 
snow-drop has disappeared, and in its place we have the 
snow-flake, the graceful cowslip, and in less abundance the 
bulbous crowfoot, to be soon followed by the harebell, 
that loves the sides of fields, sloping banks, and shady 
places^ which it renders quite blue with its flowers. Not 
less beautiful are the trees at this season. The laurel, 
almond, peach, apricot, nectarine, cherry, and many other 
fruit-trees blossom on all sides, while the beech, the horse^ 
chestnut, the elm, and the larch open their leaves, and are 
clothed in a light but glowing green, that in its repose is 
to the full as pleasing to the eye as the gaudiest of the 

Such was April, though of late years it has hardly 
deserved so fair a character, having like some other folks 
grown worse as it has grown older. In proportion as 
winter has been less severe with us, spring and summer 
have deteriorated, as if nature required the bracing colds 
of winter to restore her strength after the teeming of the 
two preceding seasons. 

AU FooVs Day, — ^The custom of making April fools on 
the first day of this month is exceedingly old as well as 
general. Both Maurice and Colonel Pearce have shown 
that it prevailed in India, and the latter says^ that it forms 
a part of thefTtf/i Festival, — ''During theJTtfZt^when mirth 
and festivity reign among the Hindoos of every class^ one 
subject of diversion is to send people on errands and 
expeditions that are to end in disappointment, and raise 
a laugh at the expense of the person sent. The Huli is 
always in March> and the last day is the general holiday. 
I have never yet heard any account of the origin of thi$ 



English custoai 3 but it is unquestionably very ancient^ 
and is still kept up even in great towns, though less in 
them than in the country. With us it is chiefly confined 
to the lower class of people, but in India high and low 
join in it; and the late Sourajah Doulah, I am told, was 
very fond of making Huli fooh, though he was a Mus- 
sulman of the highest rank. They carry the joke here 
so far as to send letters making appointments in the 
names of persons, who it is known must be absent from 
their houses at the time fixed upon 3 and the laugh is 
always in proportion to the trouble given.*'* 

Upon this Maurice f has well observed, that the origin 
of the custom is to be sought in the ancient practices 
amongst the Eastern people of '^ celebrating with festi- 
val rites the period of the Vernal Equinox, or the day 
when the new year of Persia anciently began." But, 
however derived, the name at least existed among the 
Romans, for we find the following pertinent passage in 
Plutarch, — *' Why do they call the Quirinalia the Feast 
of Fools ? was it because this day was given, as Juba 
writes, to those who were ignorant of their tribe ? or was 
it because it was permitted to those, who had not sacrificed, 
like the rest, at the Fornacalia in their tribe, on account 
of business, travelling, or ignorance, to recover their fes- 
tival on this dccasion."t 

Brand is inclined to believe that All Fools* Day is only 

• Asiatic Researches, vol. ii. p. 334. 

t Indian Antiquities, vol. vi. p. 71. 

i Ki^aXauov Karaypaiftrf Twfiaixa, 89-— Pint. Op. Tomus ii. p. 
115. Qrto. Olon : 1726. Sir Henry Ellis, who was directed to this 
passage by the Rev. W. Walter, Fellow of Christ's College, Cam- 
bridge, calls it '* a singular passage.^* In what its singularity con- 
sists I am at a loss to conceive. If there be anything at all out of the 
way in the business, it is that a writer of so much pretension as Sir 
Henry should need a fiager-post to direct him on the road to Plu- 

' TBX MONTHS — AFVLlh, 171 

a corruption of Old Fools' Day,* and that it was meant 
originally in ridicule of the Druids. He says^ ''Our epi- 
thet of Old Fools'— in the Northern and Old English, mid, 
— does not ill accord with the pictures of Druids trans- 
mitted to us. The united appearance of age, sanctity^ 
and wisdom, which these ancient priests assumed, doubt- 
less contributed in no small degree to the deception of 
the people. The Christian preachers in their labours to 
undeceive the fettered multitudes would probably spare 
no pains to pull oflf the masks from these venerable hypo- 
crites, and point out to their converts that age was not 
always synonymous with wisdom, that youth was not the 
peculiar period of folly, but that together with young 
ones there were also old (auld) fools.'* 

It would be useless to waste any arguments in refuta- 
tion of such solemn trifling, for which Brand does not 
o£Per even the shadow of a reason. The notion, such as 
it is, was borrowed by him from the '* Essay to retrieve 
the ancient Celtic,** as appears by his own previous quo- 
tation from that author. 

This custom was not confined to our island. It seems 
to have prevailed also in Sweden, for we find that Toreen 
in his Voyage to Suratte, says, " The Ist of April we set 
sail on board the ship called the Gothic Lion, after the 
west wind had continued to blow for five months toge- 
ther at Gothenburgh^ and had almost induced us to be- 
lieve that there is a trade-wind in the Skaggerac Sea. 

tarch, vlwm he quotes with as much pomp and circumstance as if 
he had brought to light some rare manuscript Still stranger is it 
that being so directed by his Cambridge friend, he could not manage 
to give a correct version of his author. AcerxaXcav, he renders 
by negligence^ instead of business or occupation, to say nothing of 
the general looseness of his translation which, if words mean any 
thing, should be rather called an imitation. 
• Popular Antiquities, sub voce. 



The wind made April fools of us^ for we were forced to 
return before Skagen, and to anchor at Rifwefiol."* 

Amongst the French the custom itself exists^ though 
:he name attached to it is changed. With them the per- 
son imposed upon is called a '' poisson d'Avril/' which 
Bellingen explains to be a corruption of Passion, and con- 
tends that it is a memorial of the Jews' mockery of 
our Saviour in taking him backwards and forwards from 
Annas to Caiphas, from Caiphas to Pilate^ from Pilate to 
Herod^ and from Herod back again to Pilate. His words 
are, " Quant au mot de poisson, 11 a est^ corrompu, comme 
une infinite d'autres, par Tiguorance du vulgaire, et la 
longeur du temps a presque e£Pac^ la memoire du terme 

* A voyage to Surattg, China, &c., from the Ist of April 1750 to 
26th of June 1752. By Olof Toreen. This voyage, which is detailed 
in a series of letters, addressed to the celebrated Linnaeus, is not 
published separately, but is to be found at the end of Peter Osbeck's 
*' Voyage to China and the East Indies^ translated from the German 
by J. R. Forster, 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1771." I am not however 
without my suspicions that Forster's translation is from^Dominique 
Blackford's French version, published at Milan in the same year, 
though I have never seen the original, which is much more likely 
to be in Swedish than in German, considering that Toreen was a 
Swede writing to a Swede and for the Swedish public. 

This quotation is also given in Ellis's edition of Brand, though 
there is some reason to doubt whether he ever saw the book he pre- 
tends to cite. His only giving the name of Toreen, without any 
mention of the work itself would not indeed be conclusive as to this 
point, but the suspicion almost becomes certainty when we find the 
extract shamefully garbled, and the only two names of places, that 
occur, so deformed by misspelling as scarcely to be recognizable, 
while the voyage is, as I have just mentioned, not published by 
itself, but as a sort of supplement to Osbeck. The places, I allude 
to, are Skagen, printed bj Sir H. Ellis, Shagen^ and Rifwefiol trans- 
formed by him into Riswopol, and that not only in the old quarto 
but in the recent 12mo edition, published by Knight ; but indeed the 
last is the worst of the two ; every page is full of blunders, both typo- 
graphical and literary. 


original ; car au lieu qu' on dit" presentment Poisson on 
a dit Passion de le commencement ; parceque la passion 
du Sauveur du Monde est arrivde environ ce temps la^ 
et d*autantque que les Juifs firent faire diverses courses k 
Jesus Christy pour se moquer de luy et pour luy faire 
de la peine, le renvoyant d*Ann^ aCaiphe, de Calfphe a 
Pilate, de Pilate k Herode, et d'Herode a Pilate, on a pris 
cette ridicule on plutot impie contume de faire courir et 
de renvoyer d*un droit a I'autre ceux desqnels on se veut 
moquer environ ces jours la."* The absurdity of such 
an explanation will need no comment to those, who re- 
collect what has been already mentioned of the same cus- 
tom having existed in India and Rome, ages before the 
Jews had an opportunity of mocking Christ. But at the 
same time there seems to be just as little reason for agree- 
ing with Mr. Donee, when he tells us, " I am convinced 
that the ancient ceremony of the Feast of Fools has no 
connection whatever with the custom of making fools on 
the first of April. The making of April fools, after all 
the conjectures which have been formed touching its ori- 
gin, is certainly borrowed by us from the French, and 
may I think be deduced from this simple analogy. The 
French call them poissons d'Avril, i. e. simpletons, or, in 
other -words, silltf mackarel, which suffer themselves to be 
caught in this month. But as with us April is not the 
season of that fish, we have very properly substituted the 
word fools."t 

How mackerel should be in season with the French, 
and not with us, Mr. Donee has not tli ought proper to 
explain, and we may safely reject this absurdity without 

* L'Etymologie, ou Explication des Proverbes FranqaiB, par Fleury 
de Bellingen, p. 34. 8vo. ^ la Haye, 1656. See also, Leroux, Dictiou- 
naire Comique, Tome i. p. 70. Minshew's Ductor in Linguas ; and 
Nouveau Dictionnaire d'Anecdotes. Tom. ii. p. 97, 

f Brand's Popular Antiquities, vol. i. p. 82. 


any farther argument. It is possible that he may be right 
in denying the identity of All Fools* Day with the Feast of 
Fools } but it certainly admits of question $ for although 
the latter was held on the first of November^ yet it stands 
marked in the ancient Romish Calendar as having been 
removed thither from some other day — " Festum Stulto- 
rum hunc translatum est," — "the Feast of Fools was 
removed hither.'' Removals of this kind were far from 
being uncommon in the Roman Calendar, when, as often 
happened, any particular day became laden with more 
Saints than it could conveniently carry. 

Upon this subject it only remains to notice that in 
the North, April fools were called April Gouks, gouk, 
or gowk, whieh literally means a cuckoo, being commonly 
used for a term of contempt. 

Palm Sunday, Dominica Palmarum, Dominica in Ramis 
Palmarum, Parasceue* or Pascha Fhridum, is the sixth and 
last Sunday in Lent, and the one immediately preceding 
Easter. It was thus called from the old Roman Catholic 
custom of carrying palm branches in procession on that 
day in comemoration of the palms or olives, that the Jews 
strewed in the way of Christ when he went up to Jerusa- 
lem .f Strutt, in the third volume of Horda Angel- Cynnan, 
p. 174, quotes from an old manuscript, "wherefor holi 

• Paraaceue, though sometimes peculiarly applied to this day, is 
also a general term, for it often signifies the eve or vigil of any other 
solemn feast, in which there is a rest from labour :— '< interdum 
etiam," says Hospinian (p. 59 — de Fest. Christ.) *' significat vigiliam 
siye profestum cujuscunque alterius festi solennis, in quo ab omni 
opere servili quiescendum est." — According to etymology it signifies 
nothing more than the day of preparation^ from the Greek n-apacriccvi}, 
a preparation. 

t See Festa AngUhRomanaf p. 39, 12mo. London, 1678 ; Historia 
Sacra f p. 151, 8yo. London, 1720 ; Wheatley*$ lUuatraHon^ &c.p. 225, 
fol. London, 1720 ; Dvrandi Rationale Divin, Offic, lib. vi. De Domin, 
in Ramis Palmarum, p. 215, Qto. Venetiis, 1609. 


Chirche this day makeith solenipne processyon, in mynde 
of the processyon that Cryst made this dey ; but for enche- 
son'*' that wee have noone Olyve that bearith greene 
leaves, therefor we taken Palme, and geven instede of 
Olyve, and bear it about in processione.*' 

Hospinian, however, denies that any meDtion of this 
custom occurs till about the year 455, and is extremely 
indignant with Polydorus for saying that it was instituted 
by the Apostles.f 

It had also the name of Dominica Magna, or the Great 
Lord's Datf, because of the ^'^ great and many infallible 
good things that were conferred on the faithful the week 
ensuing, namely, death abolished, slander, and the tyranny 
of Satan, removed by the painful and ignominious death 
of our Saviour."t 

Lastly, it was called CapiHhwium by the vulgar, be- 
cause it was a custom on that day to wash the heads of 

* Encheaon is a law term, borrowed from the French, signifying 
the '* cause or reason wherefore any thing is done/* See Olosaoffra" 
phia, sub voce. 

t Garuit autem istis nominibus (Paacha Floridum scilicet, et Do- 
mnica in Ramia Palmarumf) longo tempore. Undo credibile est 
sequentibus aliquot saecuUs post natum Christum, nomen cum super- 
stitione incepisse demum. Mentio ejus primum fit circa annum 
Domini, 455 ; nam Dominiose in Ramis Palmarum titulum, sed eum 
plane nudum, habet quaedam homilia Maximi Taurinensis, qui circa 
hsec tempera yixit, in qua illud tantum ex psalmo 21. * Deus, deus, 
respice in me* &c. tractat ; festi ne verbulo quidem meminit. Undo 
etiam titulus ille non immerito diu post additus judicari debet. Me- 
minit deinde ejus Paulus Diaconus, lib. xxiii. Rom. Rerum circa 
annum 800. In Constitutione autem ek de Festis CaroliM. que extat, 
lib. i. cap. 158, nulla ejus fit mentio prorstls. Quocirca mirandum 
est quft. authoritate, imd qu& audaci&, Polydorus Dominicam Palma- 
rum» sicut ut aUos dies festos multos, qui diu post apostolorum, 
tempera demiim festivi habiti sunt, ab apostolis institutes et ordinatos 
esse dicere ausit." Hospinian De Origine Festorum Christianorum, 
p. 55. fol. Tiguri,'1612. 

J Fest. Ang. Rom. p. 39. 


the children, who were to be anointed^ lest they should be 
unclean from the previous observance of Quadragesima.* 
The boughs used on these occasions were previously 
blessed by the priest, a solemn ritual being appointed for 
the purpose. In the Doctrine of the Mass, as quoted by 
Brand yt we read that the priest was directed, after the 
conclusion of the Gospel to array himself in a red cope, 
and, taking his place upon the third step of the altar, to 
turn towards the south, palm-flowers and branches of 
palm being first laid on the altar for the clergy, and upon 
the altar-step on the south side for others. He is then to 
recite certain prayers, appropriated to ' the occasion, and 
accompanied by crossings and genuflections, duly es- 
tablished in the rubric, the whole being clearly the inven- 
tion of monkish times, if we may believe the authority of 
Hospinian as to the period when the custom originated. t 
So far, however, it is easy to understand the policy of the 
priesthood, who lost no opportunity of impressing scrip- 
tural events upon the people's minds by connecting them 
with fasts or holidays. But one cannot help being sur- 
prised at finding these ceremonies so frequently of a low 
and ridiculous nature, and calculated above all measure to 
bring the thing celebrated into contempt. Thus on the 
present occasion the progress of Christ to Jerusalem was 
burlesqued, rather than commemorated, by a wooden 
mage placed upon a wooden ass, which went upon 
wheels, accompanied by troops of priests, and a con- 
course of people, bearing palms ; these they threw upon 

* *^ Valgus autem ideo eum diem oapUilamum yocat, quia tunc moris 
erat lavandi capita infantum, qui unguendi sunti ne forte obser- 
vatione Quadragesime sordidati ad unctionem accederent/' Sancti 
Isidori Hispalensis EpisC' De Oifficiis Ecclesiae, lib. 1. cap. xxvii. 
Opera, p. 397. Fol. Col. Agrip. 1617. 

t " Finito evangelic sequatur/' &c. Vide Brand's Popular Anti- 
quities, Vol. 1, p. 70, 12mo. London, 1841. 

X Vide supra, p. 128. Note. 


the two images as they passed, and afterwards gathered 
them up again. 

*' For falsely they beleive that these have force and vertue great 
Against the rage of winter storms and thunder's flashing heate/** 

There seems, however, to be some reason for sup- 
posing that the ceremony in question, though the Roman 
Catholics have explained it as symbolizing Christ's 
entry into Jerusalem, may after all be nothing more 
than the old Pagan custom of carrying Silenus this day 
in triumph. Dr. Clark tells us that it is still usual to 
carry Silenus in procession at Easter, and we have already 
seen on more than one occasion how fond the old Church 
was of giving a Christian signification to heathen cere- 
monies, when they were unable to put them down. 

As palms were not always, or even often to be procured 
in this country, the box, the willow, and occasionally the 
yew, were substituted. As regards the first, Newton in 
his '' HerbaU for the Bible^^f after mentioning that the 
box-tree and the palm were often confounded together 
goes on to say, " this error grew, as I thinke, at the first 
for that the common people in some countries used to 
decke their church with the boughs and branches thereof 
on the Sunday next before Easter, commonly called Palme 
Sunday ; for at that time of the yeare all other trees, for 
the most part, are not blowen or bloomed." But indeed 
we have a much more ancient authority for the use of 
box-wood on this day. In the Domesday Survey, under 
Shropshire, vol. i. fol. 252, a tenant is stated to have 
rendered in payment a bundle of box-twigs on Palm Sun- 
day — " Terra dimid. car, Unus reddit inde fascem buxi in 
Die Palmarum.** 

As respects the occasional substitution of the willow 
for the palm-tree, there is a passage in Stow, which af- 

* Bamaby Googe*8 Translation of Naogeorgus. 
t 8vo. London, 1587, p. 206— as quoted by Brand, vol. 1, 'p. 71. 



fords a good inferential evidence of the, fact> though it 
may not be stated in so many words. This excellent old 
writer tells us> that " in the weeke before Easter had ye 
great shewes made for the fetching in of a twisted tree^ 
or with, as they termed it^ out of the woodes into the 
kinge's house> and the like into every man's house of 
honor or worship.* If however, this should by any be 
deemed insufficient^ there is decisive evidence of the cus- 
tom in the following lines from Bamaby Googe jf 

** Besides they candles up do light, of verlue like in all, 
And mUow'branches hallow, that they pabnesdo use to call.** 

Yet more convincing, if any thing can be more so, is what 
we find in Cole's Adam in Eden, — '* The blossoms come 
forth before any leaves appear, and are in the most 
flourishing estate usually before Easter, divers gathering 
them to deck up their houses on Palm Sunday, and there- 
fore the said flowers are called Palme **% 

Lastly as to yew, which, it must be allowed seems a 
strange substitute for the branches of the Palm-tree. 
The evidence however is no less direct than in regard to 
the box and willow, as appears by the previous quotation 
from Strut t.§ 

According to the new edition of Brand, this custom 
ceased in the second year of Edward the Sixth, but no 
notice of the kind appears either in Wheatley, or in 
Stow, the two authorities, to which the editor refers.|| 

• Stow's ** Survay of London," Small Qrto. 1603.— page 98 ; 
under the head of ** Sportes and Pastimes." t Fol. 42. 

X As cited by Brand in " Popular Antiquities," Vol. 1. p. 7J.8vo. 

§ As cited in the OentlemanU Magazine, Vol. 50. — March 1780, 
p. 128. 

II See Brand's Popular Antiquities, vol. i. p. 111. Qrto. Lond. 1813. 
But, as I have before had occasion to remark, the whole work 
swarms with errors, every single one that existed in the quarto be- 
ing faithfully reprinted in the octavo with an abundant increase. 
Thus the quotation given presently by me from Carew, is in both edi" 
tions referred to as being at page 144, instead of 344, besides that it is 
unnecessarily garbled. 



While, however, palms retained their sanctity in con- 
nection with the day, it was usual to preserve pieces 
of the hallowed wood formed into small crosses, which 
the devout carried about them in their purses.''^ In Corn- 
wall, these crosses had a peculiar application ^ Carew 
says, ** Little Colan hath less worth the observation -, un- 
less you will deride or pity their simplicity, who sought 
at our Lady Nant's Well there to fore-know what fortune 
should betide them, which was in this manner^-Upon 
Palm Sunday these idle-headed seekers resorted thither, 
with a palm-cross in one hand, and an offering in the 
other 3 the offering fell to the priest's share ; the cross 
they threw into the well, which if it swam, the party 
should outlive that year ; if it sunk, a short-ensuing death 
was boded ; and perhaps not altogether untruly, while a 
foolish conceit of this halsening,t might the sooner help 
it onwards. A contrary practice to the Goddess Juno's 
lake in Laconia ; for there if the wheaten cakes, cast in 
upon her festival day, were by the water received, it be- 
tokened good luck ; if rejected, evil. The like is written 
by Pausanias, of Inus in Greece } and by others, touching 
the offerings thrown into the furnace of Mount iBtna 
in Sicily."! 

Piusion Week; Tenebra, The week succeeding Palm 
Sunday, or that which immediately precedes Easter, is 

* Vide **A Dialogae or Familiar Taike, betwene two Neighbours 
&c.," from Roae, hy Michael Wodde, 1554, as cited by Brand, yol. i. 
p. 74, 8yo. Edit 

t The adjective halsemng is explained by Todd in his edition of 
Johnson's Dictionary to mean *' sounding harshly;" it rather 
seems to mean " ill-omened,'* both in the passage quoted, and here 
in the sabstantive form, which last he has omitted to notice. He 
cites from another part of Carew, " this UUhiUaemngt homy name 
hath, as Gomuto in Italy, opened a gap to the scoffs of many.'* The 
literal meaning of the word is no doubt merely wundrng^ from the 
German, Hals^ '' the throat." 

t Carew's Survey of Camwallf p. 344, qrto. London, 1811. 


called Passion Week from the obsolete^ but proper 
meaning of the word Passion, t. e, suffering, in reference 
to the suffering of Christ upon the Cross. 

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this week, are the 
days on which the offices, called Tenehrm, are celebrated, 
but as a rehearsal of the singing usually took place on 
the Wednesday immediately previous, that day also came 
to be considered as belonging to them. The word is de- 
rived from the Latin, tenebra, t. e. darkness, and, the office 
is one of the most striking in the calendar of the Roman 
Catholic Church. The appellation of darkness or dark days 
has been given "because," says an old writer,* " thereby 
they represent the darkness that attended and accom- 
panied our Lord's Crucifixion ; and then also that 
Church extinguish all her lights ; and after some silence, 
when the whole office is concluded, they make a sudden 
great noise to represent the rending of the veil of the 
Temple and the disorder the whole frame of nature was 
in at the death of her Maker." 

On this occasion, the principal characters and events of 
the day were thus symbolized. In a triangular candle- 
stick were fourteen yellow wax tapers^ seven on each side, 
and a white one at the top. The fourteen yellow candles 
represented the eleven apostles, the Virgin Mary, and the 
women that were with her at the crucifixion, while the 
white taper above was the emblem of Christ. Fourteen 
psalms were sung, and at the end of each a light was 
put out, till the whole fourteen were thus extinguished, 
and the white candle alone was left burning, which was 
then taken down and hid under the altar. The extinction 
of the fourteen lights symbolized the flight or mourning of 
the apostles and the women, and the hiding of the white 
taper denoted that Christ was in the sepulchre. At this 
moment of total darkness a noise was made by beating 

* F«sta Anglo Romana, p. 43. 


the desks and books, and stamping upon the floor, which, 
as already said, was intended to represent the earth- 
quake^ and the splitting of rocks at the crucifixion.'*' 

Hohf Thursday, Shere Thursday, or Maundoy Thursday — 
is the Thursday before Easter. Many etymologies have 
been given for the word, Shere, In an old homily, quoted 
in the Weekly Packet of Advice from Rome, we read that 
the day was so called, *' for that in old fathers' days the 
people would that day shere theyr hedes and clypp they 
berdes, and pool theyr heedes, and so make them honest 
ayent Easter Day.^f In Junius the word sheer is explained 
to signify /nir««, and a writer in the '' Gentleman's Maga- 
zine,"^ who signs himself T. Row, has concluded that it 
has a reference '' to the washing of the disciples* feet, 
and be tantamount to clean.'* But to sheere is also the 
Anglo-Saxon word for *' to divide, '^ and it is even more 
likely to allude to the breaking of the bread by Christ, 
and the division of it amongst his disciples. There is the 
greater reason for this supposition in that the custom, 
still retained among us, of a royal dole of alms on that 
day is clearly a commemoration of the last supper. The 
only difference is, that in the early ages kings themselves 
washed the feet of the poor, and that when the lirst part 
of the custom became obsolete, they yet condescended to 
distribute the alms. James the Second was the last who 
performed this duty, and since his time the doles have 
been portioned out by an almoner, the number of mendi- 
cants being regulated by the years of the monarch, so 
that the poor at least have good reason to pray that the 
king may live long.§ 

* For a fall account of this ojffice, see Alban Butler's " Moveable 

t As cited by Brand, vol. i. p. 83. 

X Vol. xlix. p. 349, July. 1779. 

§ A lively account of this ceremony will be found in the Gentle- 
man*8 Magazine for April 1731, vol. i.p. 172. And in Le Guide de 



There has been scarcely less dispute as to the meaning 
of the word, Maunday or Maundy, Wheatley, who calls 
it also Mandate Thursday, or Dies Mandati, tells us that 
it was so '' called from the commandment (Mandatum) which 
our Saviour gave his Apostles to commemorate the sacra- 
ment of his supper, which he this day instituted after the 
celebration of the Passover ; and which was for that rea- 
son generally received in the evening of the day 5 or as 
others think from that new commandment, which he gave 
them to love one another, after he had washed their feet 
In token of the love he bore to them, as is recorded in 
the second lesson at morning prayer/''*' Others again will 
have nothing to do with mandate, or mandatum, but derive 
it from the French maundier, " to beg/'f while some main- 
tain with Junius^ and Spelman, that the word is derived 
from the mande, or basket, from which the alms were dis- 
tributed. But notwithstanding such high authorities, I 
am inclined to believe with those, who derive the word 
from mandatum ; for in enquiring into its etymology, we 
must look at the custom, in which it is supposed to have 

Londres,\)y R. Golsoni, 8vo. London, 1693, p. 33, we are told '* Mais 
le Toy, G. ill. (Guillaume III.) a laiss^ Tintendance de cette cere- 
monie a son grand aumonier, ou un eveque du royaiime." Queen 
Elizabeth used actually to wash the people's feet herself, being we 
may presume a much better Christian than her successora ; but she 
took care to have the business made as little disagreeable as possible, 
by haying the pauper's feet cleansed and purified beforehand by the 
yeomen of the laundry with warm water and sweet herbs. Humility 
can, when it chooses, be so yery proud ! 

« '* Wheatley's Rational JUustraHon^ p. 227. Fol. Lond. 1720. Min- 
shew maintains the same opinion; he says, it is so called, " quasi dies 
mandati propter magnum illud mandatum et preeceptum quod dis- 
cipulis suis dedit senrator noster de observatione casnsB, quam in- 
stituerat ; dixit enim, ' hoc facite in mei memoriam.' " Minshew's 
Ductor in Linguas, sub yoce. Day. 

f Gentleman's Magazine, yol. zlix. p. 54. 

X Vide JunU Etymologicon, sub voce. 


origin atedj not as the custom is, but as it was. In olden 
tiines^ when kings used to wash the feet of beggars, the 
words uttered by Christ and his apostles were sung for an 
antiphon/' mandatuin novum do vobis/' &c -,* a new com- 
mandment I give unto you — and what is more probable 
than that the whole ceremony should take its name from 
so prominent a feature ? The absurdity of deriving the 
name of the day from a word expressive of a small bas- 
ket seems to have struck some of those, who have re- 
fused credence to the more obvious etymology 3 and they 
have shifted their position, maintaining that maunde, in 
process of time, came to signify an alms, and hence the 
day had its name. Unquestionably, such a meaning was 
subsequently attached to the word 5 but they have not 
been able to show that this was an original signification, 
and far less have they proved that the term Maundy was 
a name given to the custom when first established, which 
would be the case if their derivation were the true one. 
The earliest instance of the use of the word in this sense, 
that I am aware of, is in Wits, Fits, and Fancies, 4to. b. 1. p. 
82 (quoted by Brand,) where the kinsman of a merchant 
who is making his will, enquires jestingly of the lawyer, 
" what saith my uncle now ? doth he now make his Maun- 
dies ?'' but this in my mind is conclusive of the point in dis- 
pute the very contrary way, the question of the heir ex- 
pectant evidently being no more than a mere facetious al- 
lusion, as if the dying man were doling out the alms cus- 
tomary on a Maundy Thursday ; nothing I think can be 
plainer than that it never was a general term for alms, 
though sometimes we find it used in that sense, but still 
allusively to an alms>giver. Indeed charity may be said to 
be the peculiar feature of the day, no doubt because it 
was now that Christ more particularly enjoined the prac- 

* St. John, chap. xiii. y. 34. 


tice of it to his disciples. Hence it was the custom in all 
Roman Catholic countries for the people^ drest in their 
best^ to visit several churches at this season saying a short 
prayer in each^ and giving alms to the numerous beggars 
that were in waiting. This was called performing the 

Good Friday, — The Friday before Easter Sunday. It 
was also called by the Saxons Long Friday^f perhaps 
from the long fasts and offices used by them at that time^ 
for there appears no .other reason. The epithet of good 
it is said to have obtained because the good work of 
man's redemption was then consummated^ and on account 
of the benefits thence derived to us. 

The hot cross- buns, that are in such common use 
amongst all classes, have by some been derived from 
the etdogia, or consecrated loaves of the Greek Church, 
though one would suppose that this was the very last 
quarter to which the Latins would have gone for any 
custom. The buns, marked with the cross, were, I should 
imagine, but a sort of lay-sacrament, and eaten as much 
in conmiemoration of our Saviour as the consecrated 
bread itself, being manifestly no more than another form 
of the bread that was at one time given in alms to people 
at the churches. Bishop Bonner tells us '^ that the 
gevyng of holy bread is to put us in- remembrance of 
unitie, and that all Christen people be one mysticall body 
of Christ, like as the bread is made of many grains and 
yet but one loafe, and that the sayd holy bread is to put 
us also in remembrance of the housell X and the receyvy ng 

* See Gentleman's Magazine, vol. li. p. 500. 

t Wheatley's Rational IHuetration, p. 229. 

X Housel was the old English name for the sacrament from the 
time of St. Augustine till the Beformation, when the word sacrament 
was substituted for it. But sacrament does not altogether supply the 
place]of the term thus rejected ; it denotes a sacred sign, whereas housel 

k •. 


of the moste blessed body and blood of our Saviour Jesu 

As to the word, bun, it is likely enough to be a cor- 
ruption of boun^i the original name for sacrificial cakes, and 
which the Greeks transmuted into fiovt, by changing the 
final nu into sigma. The proper word, however, pow, re- 
appeared in the accusative case, according to the usual 
mode of Greek inflection. 

Another custom of this day, but which was abolished 
by the convocation under Henry the Eighth , in 1536, is 
the creeping to the cross upon the knees and kissing it. 
Bishop Bonner in the work just quoted, says, "that the 
creepyng to the crosse on good fryday signifieth an hum- 
blyng of ourselves to Christe before the Crosse, and 
that the kissyng of it signifieth a memory of our redemp- 

Even kings and queens were not exempted from this 
idle ceremony, though they contrived to take the humility 
as much as possible out of it. In the Earl of Northum- 
berland's Household Book§ we read, amongst a multitude 
of items — '* Item, My Lorde useth and accustometh 
yerely when his Lordschip is at home to caus to be dely- 
veride for the Offerings of my Lordi's Sone and Heire 
the Lord Percy upon the sayd Good Friday when he 
crepith the Crosse ij d.'* In a note upon this, the editor 
quotes the following curious passage from an ancient 
Book of the Ceremonial of the Kings of England — 

implies a victim of sacrifice, and we find Bede employing the word 
vicHm to denote the sacrifice of the Mass. Ck)n8ult upon this sub- 
ject Dr. Lingard*s admirable '' History and Antiquities of the Anglo- 
Saxon Church," vol. i. p.* 15. 

* Bonner^a InjuneHonSj S^c. Sig. A. 1. Qto. 1555. bl. 1. 

t Vide Bryant^s Mythology. 

X Bonner* 8 Ir^uncHons, Sig A. ij. 

§ Page 334. 8vo. London, 1770. 


"Firste, the Kinge to come to the Chappell or Closset 
withe the Lords and Noblemen waytinge upon him^ with- 
out any sword borne before hime as that day. And ther 
to tarrie in his travers * until the Byshope and the Deane 
have brought in the Crucifixe out of the Vestrie^ and 
layd it upon the Cushion before the highe Alter. And 
then the Usher to lay a carpett for the Kinge to creepe to 
the Crosse upon. . . . And thus done the Queene shall come 
downe out of her Clossett or Traverse^ into the Chappell 
with La. and Gentlewomen waytinge upon her^ and 
creepe to the Crosse ; and then goe agayne to her Clossett 
or Traverse. And then the La. to creep to the Crosse 
likewise ; And the Lords and Noblemen likewise/'f 

From the same authority we learn that our sapient 
monarchs used to hallow rings on this day for curing 
the cramp, the ceremonial of which is set down with 
infinite pomp and circumstance. Hospinian makes these 
rings work a yet higher miracle, and relates that they 
were preservatives against the falling-sickness, deducing 
the custom from one, which had long been preserved 
with great veneration in Westminster Abbey, having 
been brought from Jerusalem to one of the Edwards, t 

Easter Eve — ^used to have in the old Roman Catholic 
times a variety of ceremonies that have long since been 
exploded. The fires were quenched in all the churches, $ 

* Travera is a "small room," or "cabinet." 

f Norihumberland Household Sock, Notes, p. 436. 

X Hospinian De Origine Festorum Christianoram. Foi. Tiguri 
1612. Fol. 61, 2d p. 

§ Here again, as CsbUus Rhodiginus well obserres, is a manifest 
imitation of the Pagan rites of Vesta. His words are, "quod vero 
scitu dignum est, nostr»qae religion! consentaneum, mense Martio 
quotannis innorabatur ignis in templo Vests, quod in Fastis canit 

Adde qudd arcan& fieri novus ignis in sede 
Dicitur, et yires flamma refecta capit" 


and kindled aneW from the flint, which being hallowed by 
the priest every one would take home a brand to be 
lighted, when occasion required, as a preservative against 
tempests. A large taper, called the Paschal Taper, was 
consecrated and incensed, and allowed to burn night and 
day as ^a sign that Christ had conquered hell, after 
which it was plunged into the holy water, always 
consecrated at this season, with a view to its lasting till 
the return of Easter.* But in some churches it would 
seem that light was communicated in a different manner.f 
An artificial serpent was borne upon a rod, a candle with 
the new flame being affixed upon its head, from which 
the Paschal taper and all the other church- candles were 
lighted. This serpent was regarded as a type of that 
which was set up by Moses in the desert to heal those 
bitten by that reptile, t 

Other customs of a yet more absurd description pre- 
vailed at one time in this country. Such was the buihiing 
of an imitation of the holy sepulchre on the anniversary 
of the crucifixion and placing the host in it, with a 
person set to watch for that night and the next. Early 
in the morning of the third day this consecrated wafer 

Ludov. Caelii Bhodigini Lection. Antiq. Libri Triginta, fol. 1599; 
lib. XV. c. 14. — ^^*It is worthy of notice, and agreeable to our reli- 
gion, that every year in the month of March the fire was renewed 
in the temple of Vesta ; as Ovid sings in his Fasti, — ' Add that new 
fire is said to be made in the secret temple and the renewed flame ac- 
quires strength.* " 

* Bamahy Googe's Naogeorffus, And in Coatees History qf Read' 
ing, Quarto, 1803, p. 131, under '* Churchwarden*s Accounts" is the 
following entry, anno 1559 — '< Paid for makynge of the Pascall and 
the Funte Taper, 5s : 8d." These Pascal tapers were of enormous 
size, and one of them used in Westminster Abbey in 1557 is stated 
by the same authority to have weighed 300 pounds. 

t Vide Durandi Rat Div. OS. Lib. vip Cap. 89.— sec. 12- p. 251. 

i Numbers, chap. xxi. ?. 7, et seq. 


"was taken out, when Christ was said to have arisen. 
In Coate*s work, just mentioned, we find one Roger 
Brock playing the part of watchman, for which he was 
paid eightpence, as appears by the record, and a note is 
appended to the account stating that, " this was a cere- 
mony used in churches in remembrance of the soldiers 
watching the sepulchre of our Saviour."* This custom 
was kept up so late as the two first years of Queen Eliza- 
beth in some churches,! for it was not all that had the 

privilege. J 

Easter-Day ; Asturday ; Paschal Sabbath ; Eucharist ; 
Goddess Sunday. — The term Easter is derived, as some 
say, from the Saxon oster, " to rise,*' this being the day 
of Christ's rising from the dead. But as the month 
appears to have had its name of Easter long before the 
introduction of Christianity we must look to some other 
source for the origin of the term j and where does it 
seem so visible as in the word Eostre, (the Saxon God- 
dess,) a corruption in all likelihood of Astarte^^ the name 
under which the Assyrians, Babylonians, Phoenicians, and 
the most ancient nations of the East worshipped the 
moon, in like manner as they adored the sun under the 
name of Baal. 

Another derivation of the word remains to be noticed* 
for which I remember no authority but that which I am 
about to give from one of the Cotton manuscripts ^ — 

* An account of this ceremony, as practised at Rouen in France 
and at Durham with us, is given in the Fetusta Monumenta of the 
Antiquarian Society ; vol. iii. Letterpress to plate xxxi. p. 3. 

t Idem, pp. 3 and 4. 

X In the Monumenta Paderbomensia^ p. 134, an old charter runs 
thus, *' Hee autem parochial omnia jura parochialia habebunt nisi 
quod crucem diebus dominicis et in solemnitatibus non ferent — in 
Parasceye sepulturam crucifixi non facient." 

§ This Astarte is the Ashtaroth of Scripture- 


*' Gode men and womnien,* os ye knowe alle well, this 
day is called in some place asturday, in some place pasch- 
day^ in some place goddus sounday. Hit is callde as- 
turday, as kandulmasse day of kandulles, and palme 
sounday of palmes, ffor wolnoz in uche place hit is 
the maner this day for to done fyre oute of the houce at 
the asturf that hath bene alle the wyntur brente wit fuyre 
and blaknd wit smoke, hyt schal .this day bene arayed 
wit grene rusches and swete floures strowde alle aboute 
schewyng a heyghe ensaumpul to alle men and wom- 
men that ryzte os thei machen clene the houce with- 
ine bering owte the fyre and straw ing there flowres -, 
ryzte so ze schulde clanson the houce of zoure sowle.'*^ 

In plain English the monk would call it hearth-day, 
because hearths were then cleaned and strewed with 
flowers ; but few 1 imagine will be inclined to put much 
faith in such an etymology, and I have only recorded 
it upon the obvious principle that every thing ought in 
fairness to be quoted that seems to make against one's 
own opinions. At the same time I do not at all question 
that Easter-day was called Asturday ; the monk, though 
blundering in his etymology, could hardly be mistaken 
as to a simple fact^ which must have been known to all 
his audience as well as to himself; but 1 hold this very 
circumstance as helping to confirm my theory, Astur 
is evidently but another form of Easter or Astarte, and 
has nothing to do here with a fire-place, though that is 

* This is tlie usual form ^hich prefaces all these homilies ; they 
are supposed to be addressed by the officiating priest to the people. 

f Astur or astrCf signifies a hearth. See Spelman, sub voce. 

X MS. Cotton. Claudius, A. 2, fol. 58 — in a tract that has for i(s 
title " Tractatus, qui yocatur Festlal. per frem Johem (i.e. fratrem 
Johannem) Mirkus compositus, canonicum regulars M ona^terii de 
Lulshutt. Anglice conscribitur, et ad festarum unamquemque re* 
peritur ibi homelia ex legendis plcrumque consortiata." 


one meaning of the word, and a meaning which might lead 
us to infer that the goddess had her name from tire, or 
light. This conjecture is much strengthened when we 
reflect that the ancient Germans worshipped a deity 
under the pame of Herthus, or Hertus, who though 
called by Tacitus, in his Germany, the Mother of the 
Earth, seems in all likelihood to have been the same god- 
dess afterwards corrupted by the Anglo-Saxons into Astur 
and Eostre 5 and it should also be borue in mind that 
the word hearth has been generally derived from the Ice- 
landic hyr, i.e. fire. I think myself therefore borne out in 
this deduction of the two from the same origin. 

It would be too presumptuous to affect for a moment 
to give anything like a decided opinion upon a subject so 
buried in the darkness of remote antiquity, yet I can not 
help suspecting that the Greek d^riip may have come 
from the same now-unknown source, as in like manner did 
our own word, atar^ the traces of both being quite evi- 
dent in the Persian, The conclusion therefore in my 
mind is that the Saxon Easter^ or Eoster, the Greek aVn)^ 
the English star^ and the Hebrew Ashtaroth, have all 
come from •the same long-forgotten original — ^perhaps 
Phoenician — signifying fire, and that the goddess Eostre 
was the Saxon Diana, in whom they worshipped that 
milder principle of the vivifying power which was adored * 
in summer as proceeding from her brother, Bel. Right 
or wrong, this conjecture will sufficiently account for the 
Goddess Eostre being worshipped at the vernal equinox. 

The name of Paschal would seem to be strangely given 
to the day of the resurrection, but it has been thus ex- ' 
plained by the old writer of the Festa Anglo - Romana, 
" Tis called Pascha, a Passover, not in memory of the 
Angers transit in Egypt — the Jewish Passover being a 
holy action appointed by God in the killing and eating of 
a lamb, partly that the Church of the Jews might re- 


member the benefits God conferred upon them in pass, 
ing over the houses^ and not smiting them,* — but our 
feast is celebrated in commemoration of the resurrection 
of Christ, tho* we still retain the name of Pascha not 
only because the lamb that was killed by the Jews of 
old in their Passover was a true type of the Lamb of 
God, Christ Jesus, which was sacrificed for man*s salva- 
tion, but because at that very time he passed to his Father 
from this world — Pasach signifies transitu), a passage, from 
pasach, transire, i.e. to pass — or because then was made 
a passage from an old to a new life.*'f — ^The explanation 
does not throw much light upon the subject. 

Eucharist is from a compound Greek word, which 
may, as Minshew} explains it, refer to the thanks to be 
especially given on this occasion ; or, as is not unlikely, 
to the benefit conferred on the participators of the body 
and blood of our Saviour, This day is always the first 
Sunday subsequent to the first full moon, which happens 
on, or next after, the 21st of March ; but if the full moon 
happens on a Sunday, then Easter Day is the Sunday fol- 
lowing. It used to be characterized by a belief amongst 
the people that the sun danced in joy of the occasion, and 
many were accustomed to rise early for the sake of wit- 
nessing this phenomenon ; perhaps those, who saw the 
beams quivering upon the surface of a stream shaken by 
the wind, might persuade themselves they had been suc- 
cessful. This superstition is not, I believe, quite extinct 
even now in some of the more unenlightened parts of the 

In the times of Roman Catholic predominance, the 
church celebrated the day with many pageants that 

* Exodus, c. xii. v. 11. 

t Fbsta Anglo Rom. p. 44. 

t DucTOR IN LiNOUAS ; sub voce. 


differed little from those of the theatre, except in being 
less amusing and less rational. Amongst other follies 
we ajre told^ that as on the previous evenings the watch- 
ing of the sepulchre had been acted^ so upon this day 
the resurrection was represented. The form of the cere- 
mony varied as to details in different places^ though sub- 
stantially the same in all countries. Fosbrooke's ac- 
count of the way in which it was practised amongst us 
is perhaps the most simple. " Then* during a religious 
service four monks robed themselves, one of whom in an 
alb,* as if he had somewhat to do, came stealingly to 
the tomb, and there, holding a palm branch, sat still till 
the responsary was ended 5 when the three others carry- 
ing censers in their hands came up to him step by step as 
if looking for something. As soon as he saw them ap- 
proach, he began singing in a soft voice (dulcisone) 
' whom seek ye ?* — to which was replied by the three 
others in chorus, ' Jesus of Nazareth.* — This was an- 
swered by the other, 'he is not herej he is risen.' — 
At which the three last, turning to the choir, cried, 
'Alleluia! the Lord is risen.* The other then as if 
calling them back sang, ' Come and see the place,' '* — 
and then rising, raised the cloth, shewed them the place 
without the cross, and linen clothes in which it was 
wrapped. Upon this they laid down their censers, took 
the clothes, extended them to show that the Lord was 
risen, and singing an autiphone placed them upon the 


• i.e. a white surplice, but differing from that now in use by its be- 
ing worn close at the wrist like the lawn sleeves of a bishop. 

+ Fo8brooke*8 British Monachism, p. 65, qrto. Lond. 1817. Hone, 
in his usual blundering way, has given an account, which he cites as 
being from Fosbrooke, who according to him quotes from Du 
Cange; but in fact his tale does not relate to Durham but to 
Rouenj and is to be found no doubt in Du Cange, though his in- 
ormant forgot to tell him it was under the head Sepulohri Ojfficium 


It was customary also at this time for the bishops and 
archbishops to play at dice or ball with their subordi- 
nates^ and to lay aside all the pomp and distance belong* 
ing to their station^ a manifest imitation of the Satur- 
nalia. Moreover^ the whole body of the ecclesiastics 
were now wont to shave the head and beard^ to bathe and 
to indue the white stole ; and to each of these actions 
was supposed to attach a spiritual type, — the use of the 
bath signifying that the soul should in like manner be 
purified; the shaving, that our vices should be laid 
aside ; while the white vestments might refer either to 
the appearance of the angels, or to a firm expectation of 
the robe of immortality ; or it might allude to the seve- 
rity of penance being over.* Above all, it was requi 
site that no one on Easter Day should eat anything that 
had not been blessed by the priest, or at least without 
first making the sign of the cross over it; for the devil just 
then was held to be particularly on the watch for souls.f 
Durand gives a lamentable instance of the fatal conse- 
quences arising from the neglect of this precaution , and 

Ecclesiasticum^ without which notice the reference to Du Cange is 
abont as useful as a'direction would be " to a small village somewhere 
in Europe.'' In this yenion, if we may so call it, the three priests 
wore head-dresses to represent the three Marys, namely, Mary Mag- 
dalen, Mary of Bethany, and Mary of Naim ; or, in the words of 
the old manuscript, from which Du Cange quotes, " tres diaconi 
canonici induti dalmaticis et amictis, habentes super capita sua ad 
similitudinem mulierum &c** — i.e. '* three deacons clad in dalmatics 
and amices, and wearing upon their heads after the fashion of wo- 
men, &c.'* In Durandus again the ceremony appears to have 
some variations, two of the apostles St. John and St. Peter being 
added to the performers. Vide Durandi Rationale Divin. Officior. 
lib. vi. cap. 87, p. 247. 

• Vide Durandi Rat. Div. Offic. lib. vi. cap 86, p. 245. 

t Durand. Rat. Div. Offic. ut supra. 


" 'P. 'T -^"PPV^MHMa^BBWV^ 


of which he was himself an eye-witness.* Two devils got 
possession of a young girl and tormented her for three 
years^ a miracle which I may add is often renewed in 
our own days, but with this especial difference, that, when 
the devil now possesses a woman, he does not torment 
herself but others. However, on this occasion a cun- 
ning exorcist drove the fiends out at last, having pre- 
viously made them confess that they had been lying perdu 
in a melon which the girl had incautiously eaten without 
first making the sign of the cross. 

Many similar absurdities were practised upon this day, 
the growth of a rude age, and which the judicious reader 
will as little think of imputing to Catholicism, as of 
condemning the Protestant faith for the ravings of the 
Munster Anabaptists or for the follies of Joanna South- 
cott and her disciples. 

A variety of sports characterised the Easter holidays 
among the people. In Lancashire, Staffordshire, War- 
vvickshire, and some other counties, the custom of 
heaving or lifting prevailed 5 the men heaving or lifting 
the women in a chair on Easter Monday, and the women 
doing the same by the men on the Tuesday following. 
At the end of the ceremony, the person lifted was duly 
kissed by his lifters and obliged to pay a forfeit. Some- 
times this took place within, but more frequently out 
of, doors ; the custom in some places being to place 
the victim upright in a chair, while in others he was laid 
horizontally on the bearers' hands, and raised above their 
heads. At another period, or perhaps at a different part 
of the country^ the men took the buckles on Monday 
from the shoes of the women^ who the next day re- 
turned the compliment, a forfeit having to be paid in 
either case for the redemption of the plundered article.t 

* Durandi Rat. Div. Ofiic. lib vi. cap. 86, p. 245. 
, t Brand's Pop. Antiq., vol. i,, p. 103, 


We are told, moreover, by Durandus,* that in many 
places it was the custom on the second day after Easter 
for the women to beat their husbands, and on the third, 
for the husbands to beat their wives. At Coleshill, in the 
county of Warwick, there is a custom, that if the young 
men of the town can catch a hare and bring it to the 
parson of the parish before ten o'clock, the parson is 
bound to give them a calf's head and a hundred of eggs 
for their breakfast, and a groat in money. t The game 
of quintain, too, was in olden times played upon the 
water, according to Fitz-Stephens, as quoted by Stow at 
the end of his Svrvay of London — " In the Easter holydays 
they have a sort of naval fight. A shield being strongly 
fastened to a pole in the middle of the river, a youth 
prepared to strike it with a lance, stands in the prow 
of a boat, which is impelled by the stream and oars. 
If he break the lance against the shield and continues 
firm, he has succeeded 3 if the lance strikes strongly 
and remains whole, he is flung into the river ; the 
boat, impelled by its own motion, passes on. Never- 
theless, two boats are stationed near the shield, in which 
are several young men to pick up the striker upon his 
fall into the river, or as soon* as he rises again upon the 
water.'* % 

* " Inplerisque etregionlbus muUeres secunddi die post pascha ver- 
berant maritos suos ; die verd terti^ mariti uxores suos.'' — Durandi 
Rationale Divinorum Offidorum, lib. vi, ch. 86-9, p. 245. 4to. 

t Blount's Fragmenta AntiguitatiSf &c. 

:t '* In feriis pascbalibus ludiint quasi prslia navalia ; in arbore 
siquidem mediamne scuto fortiter innexo, navicula remo et raptu 
fluminis cita in pror& stantem habet juvenem, scutum illud lancea 
pftfcussurum, qui si scuto illi lanceam illidens frangat earn et 
immotus persistat, habet propositum, yoti compos est ; si vero lance& 
integrfiL fortiter percusserit, in profiuentem amnem dejicitur. Navis 
motu suo acta prseterit. Sunt tamen hinc inde secus scutum duas 

K 2 


Cakes made of flour^ eggs, and tansies, whence they de- 
rived the name of tansays, or tansy-cakes, were eaten about 
this time, the bitter herb being considered a great purifier 
of the blood, and very necessary after the long fish-diet. 
These cakes were often made the prizes at games of foot- 
ball, races, &c.* 

Hock, or Hoke, Day or Tide. — ^The derivations of this 
word are so numerous, and at the same time so uncer- 
tain, that it is not worth while to trouble the reader with 
them. According to Douce, it fell upon the second 
Tuesday after Easter, while ancient writers say it was 
celebrated on the quindena Paschae. The custom of the 
day was for both men and women to hold a rope across 
the road, barring the way, and pulling to them the passers 
by, who were obliged to pay a toll, which was supposed 
to be appropriated to pious uses. 

St. George of C appadocia, the hero of our nursery 
tales, in conjunction with the dragon, claims the 23rd 
of April. Many of the miracles attributed to him were 
rejected by the Council of Nice who in his case seem 
to have been troubled with an unusual access of dis- 
cretion 5 for after all they were not out of the usual order ; 
it was only pretended that he could neither be drowned, 
nor crushed by the imposition of enormous weights, nor 
burned by red-hot iron or boiling lead, nor be destroyed 
by being confined in a brazen bull heated to a white heat, 
all of which things Hdspinian pronounces to be suspici- 
ous and unworthy of a martyr.f He is too fastidious. 

naves stationaritt et in eis juvenes plurimi ut eripiant percussorem 
flumine absorptum cum primo emersus comparet, vel summa rursus 
cum bulllt in unda.*' — StepkanideSt in Stow'a Survay, p. 577. 

• De Orig. Feat. Christ, p. 79. 

t Authorities for this may be found in many works. See Lewis' 
Presbyterian Eloquence^ p. 17. Brand's Pop. Antiq., &c. 



In former times it was the custom for people of 
fashion to wear blue coats on St. George's day -, be- 
cause, as some will have it, of the abundant flowering of 
bluebells in the fields about that season; or, according 
to many, because blue was the national colour, as Saint 
George was the national saint 5 and, therefore, the one 
was appropriate to the other. 

St. Mark's Day or Eve — was observed, not as a fast, but 
as a day of abstinence, which in the Church of Rome 
meant very different things.'*' On fast-days it allowed 
but one meal in four-and- twenty hours; while on days 
of abstinence, provided the people abstained from flesh 
and made but a moderate meal, they were indulged in a 
collation at night. The reason of this privation, origi- 
nally ordained by Saint George the Great, the Apostle 
of England, was that they might imitate Saint Mark's 
disciples, the first Christians of Alexandria, who under 
his guidance were eminent for piety and fasting.f Many 
allusions are made to this by old writers -, and Davies 
tells us that " upon St. Mark's Day after Easter, whifih 
was commonly fasted throughout all the country, and no 
flesh eaten upon it, the friars with the monks had solemn 
procession and went to the Bow, or Bough, Church 
with the procession, and had very solemn service there 
and one of the monks did make a sermon to all the 
people of the parish that came thither.* *t Nor was the 
day without its superstitions. Brand was informed by a 
clergyman of Yorkshire, that it was a custom of the peo- 
ple of that county to "sit and watch in the church 
porch on St. Mark's Eve from eleven o'clock at night 
till one in the morning. The third year — for this must 

• Wheatleyi Rational lUustratum, p. 201, fol. Lond. 1720. 
t Ibid. p. 202. 

X AndentRiteSi ^e. of the Church qf Durham ^ published by J. D. 
of Kidwelly, p. 156, l2mo. London, 1672. 


be done thrice — they are supposed to see the ghosts of 
all those^ who are to die the next year^ pass by into 
the church.'** Hone gives a long account of a similar 
custom prevailing in Northamptonshire^ but his unsup- 
ported authority is hardly a sufficient voucher for such 
details.t Brand also states^ that it vrsa at one time a 
custom to bless the com upon this day. 

* Pop. Antiq., voL.i. p. 115. 

t Every Day Book, vol. i. p. 523. 




HoLWOETH Cliff is situated on Ringstead Bay, six miles 
east of Weymouth, and constitutes a bulwark between 
the farm of that name and the sea. It should be under- 
stood, however, that the Burning Cliff is not an original 
formation, but an union of fragments detached by natural 
causes from the two principal elevations of the parent 
ruck. These are composed of distinct substances ; 
and it is to their combination, acting chemically, that the 
present phenomenon has by many been attriuted. 

It is now upwards of thirty years since the combustible 
materials began to separate from the main clifiP, and most 
probably from the same causes that have formed the 
whole line of the underclifiP at the back of the Isle of 
Wight, a phenomenon which is there known under the 
name of a landslip. In this case nearly three more years 
elapsed before the whole mass had finally settled below ; 
and much the same time passed before the first symptoms 
of the phenomenon showed themselves in the form of 
a vapour hovering above the loose surface. Dense ex- 
halations shortly afterwards succeeded 5 and finally in 
March, 1827) slight flames were seen issuing here and 
there from any chance cracks or crevices in the soil. 
The generals curiosity soon becoming excited by these 
appearances, the ground was dug up and laid open, when 
it was found that most of the scattered streams of smoke 
they had observed must have arisen from rain filtering 


through the chinks in the earth upon the hot substance 
below. An attempt was then made to bore as near as 
possible to the largest apertures, but the calcareous frag- 
ments threw such obstacles in the way of the labourers 
that it was speedily abandoned. 

Towards the end of Aprils however^ it was resolved to 
try a second experiment^ when on the first day their ef- 
forts only elicited the appearance of a few sparks. On 
the second they were more successful^ the workmen sud- 
denly coming upon a vast body of fire that resembled a 
smelter's furnace ; but when they had dragged out a 
quantity of this ignited matter, they were obliged to desist 
by the heat and effluvia it emitted^ and left it exposed on 
the ground^ where it continued to bum till the following 

From this time the appearances of smoke and fire con- 
tinued to increase with little intermission^ till about the fifth 
of September the ground opened in three places^ eastward 
of the original fissure. These crevices were of some 
magnitude, and^ the outer coating of mould being re- 
moved, vivid fire was seen amidst the interstices of the 
lime-stone. In a few days the earth cracked open in 
seven more places^ from each of which a thick smoke 
poured forth^ while the heat proceeding from the fissures 
was so intense as in a few minutes to ignite any in- 
flammable matter that was applied to them. By the 
first of October the fire had so much extended its sphere 
of action that the surface of red hot stone in one of the 
apertures occupied a space full three feet square ^ and 
the entire limit of the smoking crevices^ which at first 
was limited to about six feet^ had now spread in length 
from east to west^ till it reached very nearly a hundred 

It would seem that after this time no excavations of 
any magnitude were made^ the inhabitants of Weymouth 


being wiser than the old lady who destroyed the goose 
to learn the mystery of its laying golden eggs. It is 
likely enough that the cause of the fire was not very 
deeply seated^ and had they dug much lower they would 
have destroyed their phenomenon altogether. The mag- 
nates of Weymouth adopted a much better course ; they 
cut away an angular projection of the hill^ that stood 
between the town and their new Vesuvius^ so that at 
night-fall they could enjoy the sight in all its glory with- 
out the trouble of going to seek it. As if to reward 
their prudent forbearance, smoke was soon observed to 
issue from this point also, and in a short time afterwards, 
flames burst forth at intervals, and almost to the same 
extent as at the original fissure. 

And here it may be necessary to enter into some ex- 
planation for the benefit of those' who have never been 
at Weymouth. At first the Burning Cliff lay upon an 
elevation of about eighty-five ^et from the beach, but 
it was chiefly on a sort of shelf half way up the 
southern side that the flames made their appearance. 
During the spring tides in the latter part of 1827 and in 
the commencement of the year following, when the 
water rose to an unusual height and was followed by 
neap-tides almost equal to them, immense masses slid 
down at intervals with a terrific uproar ^ the position of 
the apertures was thus gradually altered so as to present 
an arch-like form, the extremities having sunk full thirty 
feet below their former level. In this state for awhile the 
mass rested, till at length in the middle of February, the 
whole being saturated and softened by high tides and 
heavy rains, it sank down within ten feet of the level of 
the beach, aad there lay like a heap of smoking ruins. 

The two principal cliffs stand, one to the north, and 
the other to the north-east, of the mass that has thus 
been dissevered from the parent rock. Of these the 

K S 


former consists of a dark mould, strongly impregnated 
with bitumen ; the latter is mostly composed of chalk, 
flint, and limestone. In the various strata below may be 
found the Cornu Ammonis, pyrites, or fire-stones, and a 
grey stony concretion, studded thickly with small shells. 
The inflammable material would seem to consist^ in a 
great degree, of Fossile Wood — Lignum Fossile — which 
in its burning emits a most nauseous stench, yet does not 
aflfect the eyes, and is even sometimes used by the poorer 
classes for fuel. 

It may also be mentioned, though totally unconnected 
with the combustion or its causes, that a vertebral bone, 
supposed to have formed part of the skeleton of an 
ichthyosaurus, has been found amongst the other matters, 
a little way below the surface. On a level with the 
burning apertures, and only a short distance inland, is 
a pond, from which a small stream runs; but, though so 
near to the sent of the fire, it has not the slightest taste 
or smell of sulphur, whence it may be inferred that the 
combustible materials are confined to a very narrow 

Various hypotheses have been suggested in explanation 
of this phenomenon. Many, with more imagination 
than philosophy, have maintained that the first ignition 
of the soil arose from a flash of lightning skimming over 
a surface that was previously charged with inflammable 
matter ; while others have attributed it to the agency 
of frost. The most rational theory is that which sup- 
poses the flame was spontaneously generated by the 
union of the gasses produced from the matter of the two 
cliff's, saturated as they were with salt water, and receiving 
a current of external air through the numerous clefts and 
fissures. With so obvious and suflicient a cause it 
would be useless to seek any farther. 



In the parish of Saint Austle there is a singular pheno- 
menon^ which seems to have mightily puzzled the wits 
of the good neighbourhood^ and in earlier times would 
certainly have given rise to some legend of Robin Good- 
fellow, or of hidden treasures. In the present day folks 
having grown wiser, or less imaginative, are contented to 
wonder at what they cannot comprehend. 

The phenomenon in question is the appearance of a 
light near the turnpike road at Hill-Head, about three 
quarters of a mile west of the town. In the summer it 
is not often visible, dry weather being most probably in- 
compatible with the causes of the meteor 5 but in the 
winter, and more particularly in the months of November 
and December, scarcely a dark night passes, in which it 
may not be seen. Its -appearance is idat of a small 
flame, of a yellowish hue, and for the most part station- 
ary ; even when moving, it wanders very little from its 
usual spot, but alternately rises and descends over the 
same place. As it has existed from time immemorial^ it 
has at length become so familiar to the people of the 
vicinity as to excite no attention^ but at one period many 


attempts were made to discover its cause and nature^ 
though without success. On approaching the spot where 
according to previous observation it should be^ the flame 
invariably became invisible to the enquirer, even while 
remaining perfectly luminous to those who watched it at 
a distance. A level was then taken during its appearance, 
by which the curious were guided in their researches, and 
stiD the phenomenon was pronounced to be as great a 
mystery as ever. There can be little doubt, however, 
notwithstanding its stationary character, that it was 
neither more nor less than a Will-o'- the- Wisp, and pro- 
duced by the same causes, even though the soil was not 
actually marshy. 



Devonshirb. — If a man or woman has been injured by 
a scald or burp then shall the charmer place her hand 
gently on her hearty and in a soft voice shall say — 

*' Three angels came from the north, east, and west ; 

One brought fire, another brought ice, 

And the third brought the Holy Ghost ; 

So out, fire ; and in frost ; 

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost/* 

It is supposed^ however, by the lower orders, who put 
great faith in the charm, that it would lose all its efficacy 
if it were once to get into a printed book. To prevent 
so grievous a mishap, the secret is orally handed down 
from one to another, the most legitimate and approved 
way being, that it should be communicated by a man to a 
woman, and by a woman to a man. But this last rule 
is not always attended to, nor is the virtue of the charm 
held to be aflfected even though it were imparted without 
the opposition of the sexes. 

Many other old superstitions are still to be found 
amongst the lower classes of the Devonians, who a few 
years since clung with remarkable tenacity to the feelings 
and customs of their forefathers. The cuckoo with them 


was, and 1 believe still is, an ominous bird ; and to hear 
him for the Brst time on the left hand is a marvellous 
sign of ill luck. They imagine too that the King's Evil 
may be cured by kissing seven virgins, daughters of the 
same mother, for seven days consecutively. But the most 
curious of their general superstitions is that of the Glass 
Rod, which they set up in their houses and wipe clean 
every morning, under the idea that all diseases from 
malaria, as well as other contagious maladies will gather 
about the rod innoxiously. It is twisted, in the form of 
a walking stick, and is from four to eight feet long. They 
can seldom be persuaded to sell it, and if it gets broken 
they augur that misfortune will ere long befall some one 
in the cottage where it has been set up. 

Others of their superstitions are peculiar to certain 
families. Such for instance is the popular legend attached 
to the family of the Oxenhams at Newhouse, according- 
to which every decease amongst its members is prognos- 
ticated by the appearance of a white-breasted bird, that 
flutters awhile about the bed of the sick person, and then 
suddenly disappears. This is particularly noticed by 
Howell in his ^'Familiar Letters,'* in which maybe found 
the following monumental inscription. " Here lies John 
Oxenham, a goodly young man, in whose chamber, as he 
was struggling with the pangs of death, a bird with a 
white breast was seen fluttering about his bed, and so 
vanished.'* The same circumstance is related of his sister, 
Mary, and of two or three others of the family. 

Cheshire. — ^A superstition, not very dissimilar to the 
above, still obtains amongst the peasantry about Brereton. 
Adjoining to Brereton, the seat of the family of that name, 
there is a pool wherein the trunks of trees are seen to 
swim for certain days together, before the death of any 
heir of that house -, and after the heir is dead, they sink, 
and are never more seen 'till the next occasion of the same 


kind.* But in truth this kind of forewarnings appear to 
have been very common 5 Burton tells us [^that, '* diverse 
ancient families in £ngland are furwarned of their deaths 
by oaks bearing strange leaves."t 

Surrey, fOralJ^X — On the high road betw^een Buckland 
and Reigate the devil is popularly believed to arouse him- 
self with dancing, sometimes in the shape of a dog, and 
at others in that of a donkey. Contrary to the received 
notion that all spirits, and particularly evil spirits, dread 
the water, the site of these terpsichorean exhibitions is a 
bridge, which crosses a little rill, and every efiPort made to 
dislodge him has hitherto proved ineffectual. He has been 
shot at repeatedly, but his Satanic Majesty turned out as 
might have been expected altogether bullet-proof. One 
old fellow, who was bolder than his neighbours, then 
ventured near enough to run a pitch-fork through him, 
but still he danced on as merrily as ever, steel evidently 
producing no more effect than ball and powder had done. 
Some unbelievers, however, who have a wonderful pro- 
pensity for explaining everything by natural causes, have 
hinted at the presence of marshy grounds in the neigh- 
bourhood as being likely enough to have originated cer- 
tain meteoric illusions, which by the usual process of ex- 
aggeration might grow into a dancing devil. It can not 
be denied that as great miracles have been built upon no 
better foundations ^ but for all that the people choose to 
believe their own eye-sight, and will not give up their 
Buckland Hag, as they call this apparition, let philosophy 
say what it pleases. 

Surrey and Kent {Oral), — In both these counties every 

♦ See Burton's Admirable Curiosities, p. 24, 12mo. London. 1737. 

t Id. p. 31. 

X These superstitions, which are marked Oraly have heen picked 
up by myself amongst the peasantry ; the reader therefore must judge 
for himself how far it may be right to put his faith in them. 


falling star is supposed to prognosticate a new birtb^ 
though it does not appear that the child so announced has 
any particular gifts or privileges beyond less ceremonious 
visitors. Amongst the alchemists of the olden times, 
these fallen stars were called Nostock,* and were sup- 
posed to be a kind of jelly or slime, such as is often found 
during summer in the fields and meadows. The French, 
however, according to Pluquet, imagine that shooting 
stars announce death. t 

A still more singular superstition in these parts is the 
connection which the people imagine to exist between 
bees and their departed owners. When the master or 
mistress, of a house dies, the survivor must go to the 
hive, and, knocking thrice, cry out, 

** Brownie, brownie, wake up ; 
Tour master (or mistress) is dead.** 

If this information is not^duly given, the bees them- 
selves will die shortly after, but whether from grief, or 
the anger of the departed spirit, is not very evident. It 
was in the parish of Cudham that I picked up the cus- 
tom, but I was given to understand that it was general 
throughout the two counties. In Norfolk also and Suflfolk 
a custom somewhat similar prevails. When the master 
or the mistress dies, due notice of the fact is communi- 
cated to the bees by tying a piece of black crape about 
the hives, and if this be not done they are sure to die, ac- 
cording to the popular belief in those parts. 

Yorkshire.\ (Oral.) — People, who have the good fortune 
to live in a street of Richmond, called New-biggin, have 
the privilege, whatever it may be worth, of leamifig with- 
out the doctor's certificate when Death is about to come 

« Vide Olossary to '* Paracelsus on the Nature of Things." Eng. 

t Contes PopulaireSy Prijuges, Proyerbes, ftc* p. 41. 8yo. Rouen. 


for them. In that street, — and in that only — a white rabbit 
never fails to make his appearance in the dusk of the 
evening when any one of the inhabitants is about to die. 
It is not twenty years ago since the doomed, or rather 
dooming, rabbit appeared to the wife of a brazier by the 
name of Hay ward, who had always been a heretic in such 
matters. His death convinced his neighbours how much 
he had been in error. 

Lancashire, — On Pendle Hill, Clithero, stands Malhin 
Tower, that in 1633 was much celebrated as being the re- 
sort of witches ; and at one time seventeen poor wretches 
were condemned for having held meetings there with the 
devil, though upon subsequent scrutiny the verdict was 
set aside and they had the good fortune to escape the 
hangman*s clutches. A witness swore he saw them go 
into a barn and pull at six roj^es, down which fell smoking 
flesh, butter in lumps, and milk as it were flying from the 
said ropes, all falling into six basons placed beneath.* 

On the top of this hill, which is extensive and some- 
what fenny, stand two large cairns about a mile distant 
from each other. Pennant conjectures that they were 
the ruins of some ancient specula, or beacon- towers, erected 
by Agricola after the conquest of the country. 

Cornwall. — ^Mines are discovered by certain flint-stones, 
round and smooth, lying on the ground 5 but if we may 
believe the popular report, there is a more easy way, and 
that is by dreams, through which it is said works of 
great value have been found. Thus, in King Edward's 
time a gentlewoman, heiress to one Tresonliard, dreamed 
a handsome man told her that in such a tenement of her 
land she should And tin enough to enrich herself and her 
posterity. Her husband upon trial found a tin- work there, 
which in four years was worth to him almost four thou- 
sand pounds. And also one Taprel of Saint ^eots by a 
• See Webster on Witchcraft, p. 277 


dream of his daughter was wished to such a place^ which 
he farmed^ and found a that made him a rich 
man* — which stories^ if true," adds Burton with great 
naivete, *' much credit women's dreams." 

Midsummer Men. — This is an old name for the orpyne 
plant, or lesser house-leek. It grows abundantly on rocks 
and old walls, covering them with its little flowers in 
much profusion. Some of the sorts are small and yellow ; 
others, white 5 and others again purple. An old writert 
thus speaks of the superstition connected with them — 
" She would never go to bed on Midsummer Eve with- 
out sticking up in her room the well-known plant, called 
Midsummer Men, as the bending of the leaves to the right 
or the left would never fail to tell her whether her lover 
was true or false. I likewise stuck up two Midsummer 
Men, one for myself and one for him. Now if his had 
died away, we should never have come together, but I as- 
sure you his blowed and turned to mine." 

Waff-^Whiff-^Swarth (Oral), — ^These are all names for 
the same thing, namely the Scotch wraith, and the Irish 
fetch. In Durham and Northumberland the two first of 
these terms are used to express the death-token 3 swarthy is, 
I believe, peculiar to Cumberland. It means the eidolon, 
or spectre, of any one about to die, and may be seen either 
by himself or others. In this last-named county it is a 
custom amongst the peasants to have a branch of the 
rowan-tree — pronounced rawn — hung up in their cottages 
as a spell against witches. 

Thunder, — ^Aubrey tells us that it was the custom to in- 
voke St. Barbara against thunder. According to the 
same unquestionable authority in all such matters, '' they 

* Burton's Admirable Curiosities^ p. 29. 

t I have in vain searched for his name, having in my memoranda 
made an erroneous reference to Peele*s Merry Jests, The passage 
is probably to be found somewhere in Dekker. 


did ring the great bell at Malmsbury Abbey, called St, 
Adebn's Bell, to drive away thunder and lightning. The 
like is yet used at the abbey of St. Germain's in Paris 
where they ring the great bell then." Chaucer in speak- 
ing of the " great hostesse" has an allusion^ not over deli- 
cate, to this custom ; and a more modem writer* says, 
''the tongue of the baptized bell made the ears of the 
affrighted demons ring with, Raphael, sancta Maria, ora 
pro nobis. These prayers/' he adds, " are on the bells at 
St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall." 

Fairy Darts,— " What that is, which the Irish call uidad 
orchd I do not perfectly understand, only that in English 
we term it a fairy dart, and the one passing by this name, 
which was shown me not long agoe, was so shaped as in 
the margent *, the matterial of it I 
could not ghess, nor could others tell 
me what it was *, but it was extreame 
hard and something brittle, the colour 
pale while having some resemblance to 
flint. It was so curiously wrought that 
I could not imagin by what art it might be done, having 
about the edges of it very small and round studs or 
prickles much like those that are about a lobster's claws. 
*Twas found sticking in turf, and produced by one as a 
proof of the power fairies have to strike man or beast 
with some occult wound or distemper. And I have with 
my ovni eyes observed in a cow, which was said to be elf- 
shott, that towards her hind-quarter on one side of her 
the hide flagged inwards, and was sunck into a hole, 
which the cow-herd, who undertook the cure of her, said 
was the hole, which the dart made through the flesh and 
bowells notwithstanding the skin or hide remained sound 

* Hogg in his ** Fabulous History of Cornwall,'* a most amusing 
work, but unluckily it is by no means to be trusted, for it not only 
treats of fables, but is too oflen fabulous. 



and entire without any hole in it 3 and withall showed ine 
there was no such hole on the other side opposite, that I 
might not suppose it to be naturall. The cure he used, as 
near as I remember, was ****** poured down her 
throat together with a certain hearb thrust into her jaws 
after it. This notable cow-chirurgeon was very secret in 
this other part of the cure and much wary lest I should 
know it, but a little of it happening to fall after him in the 
administration was found and shown me, which I per- 
ceived to be no other than ragg-wort, whereby the beast 

'* And lately I was told of a woman, who, some years 
agoe having a cow which was said to be elf-shot and died 
from her, there was found in the flesh of her, (being 
given to poore people for meat) a piece of a fairy dart, as 
they supposed it to be, which the woman keeps to this 
day, and makes use of as an amulett, which hath a medi- 
cinall virtue, as for other cows, so especially for the safe 
and sure bringing to bed of women. I have not yet 
found this woman, though I sought for her to the end 
only I might see that piece of dart." — Part of a Letter 
from Mr. J. K. fol. 24. M.S. Ayscough Catalogue, 4811. 

• The remedy is too gross for repetition. 



The" "Historical and Critical Dictionary" of Bayle is 
more interesting as a magazine of opinions than as a col- 
lection of facts^ though even in this last respect it is not 
without very great value. It is a continuation of Moreri^ 
and they v(rho possess the former book on account of its 
historical matter^ ought not to be without the work of 
his industrious predecessor. Bayle's critical castigations 
of Moreri are generally passed over by modern readers^ as 
is the t&ae with most personal satires^ scarcely even ex- 
cepting those of Dryden, Pope, or Churchill, the force 
of the venom dying with the object of it. The spirit of 
acrimony, thank Heaven, is seldom, if ever, immortal. 

No antiquarian ever wasted more time and learning 
in settling the day and hour,' whereon the foundation 
stone of an obscure parish church was laid, than Bayle has 
thrown away in correcting the petty chronological errors 
of Moreri. The most interesting conclusion from this 
feature of the "' Historical and Critical Dictionary'* is that 
patience of investigation and minuteness of knowledge 
may exist in a mind, which is rich in imagination, and 

f * It may be necessary to observe that this appeared in a Magazine, 
of which I was the editor a few years ago. 


elegant in taste. But in parts also where he does not at 
all clash with Moreri^ Bayle is exceedingly deficient in 
narrative matter. He omits^ too, the lives of innumerable 
great characters of other nations ; and often introduces 
people of no importance, merely for the sake of finding 
a vehicle in which some of his particular opinions may 
travel from his study into the world. It is not a work of 
systematic biography. There is for instance a life of 
Dante, but there are no notices of Petrarca and Ariosto. 
His omission of the lover of Laura is singular, for he had 
described with wonderful minuteness the real passion of 
Abelard and Heloise -, and the case of Petrarca was a con- 
venient opportunity for speculating on Platonic affection. 
The opinions in the dictionary are more numerous and 
interesting than the facts, for the author was a man of 
wonderful intellectual powers 5 he reflected deeply, and 
like the few men, the homines centenarii, who have done 
so, he found in his own mind all the germs of thought. 
Yet his borrowed knowledge was immense j a steady ap- 
plication and a retentive memory soon made him master 
of the facts, and a mind pliable to every shape readily 
associated itself with the opinions of former times. There 
are few of the subjects of religion, philosophy, and con- 
duct that he has not examined, and always as it would 
seem with a perfect indifference to the issue of the in- 
vestigation. He has none of those feelings of ardent 
love for his species, none of those longings after im- 
mortality, of which, as parts of the nature of man, no 
philosopher with all his assumption of impartiality ought 
to divest himself. No wonder that he is an advocate for 
unbounded toleration of opinion, for no man tried so 
severely the patience of society. Jeremy Taylor, in his 
"Liberty of Prophecying,** had professed indulgence to 
all those who acknowledged the truth of the Apostles' 
Creed, although they differed on theological subjects not 


mentioned in that symbol; John Locke, in his '' Treatises 
on Toleration/' excuses all variations of religious opinion 
except the errors of Popery; but Bayle*s liberality of 
tolerance was without a limit. The circumstances of 
their lives^ and their particular sentiments on some im- 
portant subjects, naturally enough conducted them all 
to their respective conclusions on this subject. 

But to return to the topic of the Pyrhonism of the 
Dictionary. No cause of heresy ever falls to the grqund 
for want of ingenious support. The author states with 
firmness and strength the tenets of the Manicheans ^nd 
the Spinozists 5 his replies show the folly of the religion 
of, the one and of the philosophy of the other ; but still 
he gives the mind no opinions to rest upon^ for the futility 
of human reason is the conclusion to which all his argu* 
ments lead us. He does not allow himself even to repose 
on those probabilities^ with which the academies of old 
were satisfied^ much less would he acknowledge the wis- 
dom of the schoolmen's practice of deciding as well as 
discussing. The dread of penal inflictions on himself for 
his indifference as to religion was obviously on the mind 
of Bayle, when writing most of his dictionary. He oc- 
casionally appeals to the Scriptures as if he were a faith- 
ful son of the Church ; but his religious quotations are 
introduced so coldly^ and with so little power, that the 
reader is continually reminded of those brief moral sen- 
tences which a novelist often thinks it decent should con- 
clude a glowing description of voluptuousness, fiayle 
was as intimately acquainted with the historians and poets 
as with the philosophers of antiquity 3 and perhaps no 
author quotes with so much propriety. Horace seems 
to have been his favourite classic^ for there was much 
similarity of taste between them> both being gay, good- 
humoured, witty, and elegant. In spite, however, of his 
intellectual polish, no man's imagination is more riotous 


and prurient than that of Bayle. He is never so happy 
as when the task is to explain and describe an affair of 
love. Page after page of his work is full of arguments^ 
suppositions^ learned references to Ovid, TibuUus, Petro- 
nius, and Catullus ; and the reader, while disgusted at his 
author's immorality, is astonished at his genius and learn- 
ing. This part of the subject is exceedingly remarkable, 
for it is agreed on all hands that Bayle was only a specu- 
lator in the amorous science. 

What the Anatomy of Melancholy was to the wits of 
Queen Anne's reign, the DictUmnmre Historique et Critique 
was to' the beaux esprits of France during the last cen- 
tury. Voltaire had so superficial an acquaintance with 
the classical languages that he could not of himself mas- 
ter the systems of ancient philosophy 3 nor did the pur- 
suit of drawing-room applause at Paris leave this crea- 
ture of vanity leisure for study or contemplation."" 
Books, however, were to be composed, for wit was 
fashionable 3 and a new jest, whether oral or written was 
occasionally necessary to dissipate the ennui of courts or 
to soften a monarch's frown. Infidelity, however, and im- 
morality were the great subjects which were to be the 
foundation of every work. The marriages between the 

* The hatred that this shallow Frenchman bore to Shakspeare — 
for shallow he was with all his wit — led him to adopt a system 
of meanness and falsehood that most stamp him with eternal infamy 
in the mind of every honest man. Having first pillaged the poet 
and drest himself up in the spoil, he afterwards attempted to de- 
stroy his reputation, just as the high-way robber of old used to 
knock his victim on the head lest he should at any time bear 
witness against him. I subjoin a reference to a few of his letters 
illustrative of this topic, as many may like to see what this idol of 
the French can bring forward in disparagement of Shakspeare, who 
would have very reasonable objections to wading through his vo- 
luminous writings. See the Letter to the Duke of Choiseul, Lett. 
288, vol. 60, p. 512.— -To Horace Walpole, Lett. 287, vol. 60. p. 
505._To H. Pancoucke, Lett. 224, vol. 60, p. 377. 


French royal families and the princely houses of Italy 
had introduced into France those principles of infidelity 
which the exclusive love of classical literature had given 
birth to in Italy at the revival of letters. These prin- 
ciples were eagerly received and strongly supported in 
France because they suited well with the dissoluteness of 
the court. The powerful intellects of other times had 
only looked for applause from kindred minds ; but the 
wits of the court of Louis the Fourteenth had no higher 
or better ambition than such fame as would be bestowed 
by the approbation of the great vulgar. In the one case 
literature dictated opinions^ and men of , wisdom taught 
the world, which then was contented to yield the proper 
place to merit 3 in the other case books were merely the 
echo of the prevailing taste ; they were written to support 
it, and as it was corrupt and frivolous to a degree know- 
ledge made no progress. By his cleverness and brilliancy 
Voltaire rose to be the head of those who thus degraded 
letters by following in the court-train and feeding all its 
follies. The light, thin soil of his mind could not afford 
subsistence to the tree of knowledge^ which in his case 
put forth a few showy blossoms^ but never ripened into 
fruit. Ideas must be sought somewhere^ and Bayle*s 
Dictionary was the fashionable work during Voltaire's 
youth. It was true that Le Clerc, and Jurien^ and 
Jacquelot, had shown the superiority of truth over scep- 
ticism^ but the wits admired the elegance of Bayle^ while 
the ladies wpre delighted with his tales of(gallantry) and 
in those days the ladies of France reigned with despotic 
sway over literature as well as over love. The apostle 
of scepticism therefore drew his principal weapons from 
the Dictionary, and his natural wit acquired a keener 
edge by communing thus closely with that of Bayle^ 
He amplified his master's pointed sentences into ela- 
borate systems^ and by means of a lively fancy and a 



remarkable facility of diction persuaded the world that 
his infidelity was the creation of his own genius. 

But a more illustrious disciple of Bayle was 'one of 
our own countrymen, the elegant and accomplished 
Gibbon. From resolving to write the history of the city 
of Rome, the idea gradually expanded into the noble 
project of writing the History of the Decline and Fall 
of the whole Roman Empire. Much of this subject had 
already been traced in outline. Le Beau had given the 
French nation a history of the Lower Empire, in con" 
tinuation of Crevier's History of the Roman Emperors. 
Every *great man has had numerous biographers, and 
libraries were crowded with church annals. To read and 
study all the original authors on the events and opinions 
of more than twelve hundred busy years was a task be- 
yond the industry of Gibbon, although he was keen and 
sagacious, and perhaps as learned as any gentleman-au- 
thor can be, who spends his mornings in his library^ 
He benefited very considerably by those writers of modern 
times who had devoted years to the investigation of par- 
ticular parts of his grand subject, and of the numerous 
topics, which he has chosen to introduce as episodes. He 
had the skill of making other persons' learning appear 
to be his own, and, it is plain, only consulted original 
authorities upon points of moment, to which he knew 
the attention of the world would be more particularly 
directed. His occasional criticisms on Lardner make the 
uninformed reader suppose that his learning even sur- 
passed that of the illustrious champion of dissent, while, 
in reality, it was Lardner who furnished him with most 
of his facts concerning the early Christians, though, by 
comparing Lardner*s statements with those of Tillemont, 
Dupin and Fleury, he might occasionally discover dif- 
ferences, and be enabled to give critical decisions between 
the combatants. In all literary opinions. Gibbon was a 


Frenchman ; and it is only from the circumstance of 
most Englishmen possessing but a very slight ac- 
quaintance with French literature that be was ever 
thought to be an original writer. No man borrowed so 
freely as Gibbon from the French compilers of memoirs, 
and it may with truth be said, that, while reading the 
Decline and Fall, we are often only being amused with 
an elegant version of the Abbe Bleterie, Petit de la Croix, 
and other authors of the same description. The very 
sum and substance of the papers in the Transactions of 
the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lett res are to 
be found in the Decline and Fall. Even those, who may 
not be able to trace the historian's elegant plagiarisms, 
must yet be aware that the idiom of his work is much 
more French than English, and that his style is by no 
means a fitting object of imitation. In the last century 
infidelity was a fashionable qualification amongst men 
of literature, an assumed badge that distinguished know- 
ledge from ignorance,^ and not an honest conviction. In 
the case of Gibbon, Bayle supplied all the quibbles and 
sophistries on the subject of religion, and these appear^ 
sometimes in the text of the Decline and Fall when they 
are dressed up in all the pomp of history, and sometimes 
in the notes when they are sharpened into epigrams* 
But Gibbon was a man of cold temperament, and al« 
together wanted that enthusiasm in scepticism which dis- 
tinguished his master. There are fanatical sceptics, and 
superstitious atheists, and it is often aq even point which 
is the worst, the bigotry of unbelief, or the bigotry of 
religion. While Bayle was a Pyrhonist in all things, his 
disciple was satisfied with endeavouring to destroy the 
Christian religion. Both the master and the scholar 
laboured with incessant diligence to show that the Chris- ' 
tians had always been poor, timid, pitiable beings; and 
that in the multitude of theological opinions truth was 

L 2 


not to be found. It was from the same source that 
Gibbon drew most of his materials for attacking morals, 
for a leading characteristic of the Dictionary is licenti- 
ousness, although there is much difference in their way of 
management. Bayle speaks of love with the curiosity of 
a natural philosopher and the elegance of a lettered mind. 
Gibbon shows the brutality, and not the mental sensibility, 
of the passion 3 but when he happens to throw round his 
subject the graces of elegant fiction, those graces are 
always borrowed from the curious disquisitions in Bayle. 
To Voltaire also the historian is largely indebted, and 
they who have waded through these voluminous authors 
must easily remember moments when they have been 
struck with identity both of thought and diction. To 
establish the truth of this assertion it would be requisite 
to give examples far beyond my limits, and perhaps as far 
beyond the patience of most readers. Judgments of 
this nature are the slowly formed results of long and pa- 
tient study, the conclusions being often more a matter 
of feeling than the single consequence of any particular 
instance of similitude. 

But if Bayle has turned half-thinkers into free-thinkers, 
he has also helped to enlighten men of real talent. When 
Tonson, the bookseller, used to wait on Addison for his 
Spectators, he always found Bayle lying open upon the 
table. Johnson was accustomed to praise the Dictionary 
for the account given in it of the biographical part of 
literature, yet Addison was pious, and Johnson was both 
pious and learned, and either extracted the honey from the 
flower while he left behind the poison. It would have 
been well for D*Israeli, when tracing the literary character, 
if he had followed their example, for he would have 
drawn more substantial information from Bayle than from 
Gassendi's Life of Pieresa, or the many obscure authors, — 
obscure because they are worthless, — whom he is so fond 


of following, fiayle traced conduct to its motives^ and 
would have guided Mr. Disraeli to the reasons as well as 
to the facts of his several subjects. Rousseau is the hero 
of Mr. D*Israeli's pages^ and men of letters are exceed- 
ingly obliged to a writer^ who draws the literary character 
from the life of a madman ; yet surely Plotinus,'*' as 
described by Bayle, would have been a better figure in 
his picture^ if he was resolved that eccentricity should 
stand for wisdom. The Platonic philosopher was at least 
a good man, while the contributor to impiety to the 
Foundling Hospital at Paris seems to have been the very 

* Plotinus flourished in the third century, and belonged to the Pla- 
tonic school of philosophy, his 'whole life being spent in a visionary 
attempt to make the mind independent of the body and to elevate man 
as nearly as possible to the Deity. The Calvinistic spirit of modern 
times is but another form of the same folly, which neglects the real 
and the sensible for a dreamy something, which exists but in the 
imaginations of religious enthusiasts, who fancy they are wor- 
shipping the Creator by contempt of his gifts. To such an ex- 
tent did Plotinus carry this doctrine, that he professed himself 
ashamed of being lodged in a body, having so profound a contempt 
for everything material in him that he would never suffer his picture 
to be drawn. How childish does all this seem by the side of the Ba- 
conian philosophy, the most inestimable gift that was ever bestowed 
by man upon his fellow-creatures. 



May was called by our Saxon ancestors Tri-milkij because 
in that month they began to milk their kine three times 
in the day.* 

Every year on this day met the folkmote of our Saxon 
ancestors — the annual parliament^ as it is explained by 
Spelman^ or convention of the bishops^ thanes^ alder- 
men, and freemen, in which the laymen having first 
sworn to defend one another and conjointly with the 
king maintain the laws of the realm, then proceeded to 
consult of the common safety. 

The modern name of the month is from the Latin Maius, 
or Majus, which itself has been variously derived, and occa- 
sioned much dispute, as Macrobius tells us, amongst the 
Roman writers. According to one account it was called 
Majus from Majores^ the elders, just as the month of June 
had its name from Juniores, the younger, these appella- 
tions having been respectively given in honour of the 
two great masses into which Romulus had divided the 
Roman people, — namely the elders and the juniors, — 

* VerstegarCa Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, p. 66. London. 


the one being appointed to maintain the republic by their 
counsels, and the other by their arms. Cincius however 

imagines that the name was derived from Maia, whom he 

^ .-I 

calls the wife of Vulcan, while Piso contends that the 
goddess in question was called Majesta, and not Maia, 
whom others call the mother of Mercury. Some again 
derive it from Jupiter, called Majus from his Majesty ; 
and not a few have maintained that the Maia, to whom 
sacrifices were made in May, was the Earthy so named 
from its magnitude, as in the sacred rites she is called 
Mater Magna, the Great Mother. The plain inference 
from all these argumentary suppositions is that neither 
Varro, nor Cincius, nor Macrobius, nor any of the 
authors cited by him, knew a jot more of the matter 
than ourselves.* 

It may now be said to be spring to the feelings as 

* " Majum Romulus tertium posuit, de cujus nomine inter auctores 
lata dissensio est ; nam Fulvius Nobilior in Fastis, quos in eede 
Herculis Musarum posuit, Romulum dicit, postquam populum in 
majores junioresque divisit, ut altera pars consilio, altera armis rem- 
publicam tueretur, in honorem utriusque partis hunc Majum, sequen- 
tem Juniunij vocasse. Sunt qui hunc mensem ad nostros fastos a 
Tusculanis transisse commemorant ; apud quos nunc quoque vocatur 
Deus Majus, qui est Jupiter, a magnitudine scilicet ac majestate 
dictus. Cincius mensem nominatum putat a Maja, quam Vulcani 
dicit uxorem ; argumentoque utitur, quod flamen Vulcanalis Kalen- 
dis Majis huic deae rem divinam facit. Sed Piso uxotem Vulcani 
Majestam, non Majam dicit vocari. Contendunt alii Majam^ Mer- 
curii matrem, mensi nomen dedisse, hinc maxime probantes quod 
hoc mense mercatores omnes Majae pariter Mercurioque sacrificant. 
Affirmant quidam, quibus Cornelius Labeo consentit, banc Majam, 
cui mense Majo res divina celebratur, terram esse, hoc adeptum nomen 
a magnitudine sicut et Mater Magna in sacris vocatur.'* — Macrdbii 
Satumaly lib. i. cap. xii. 

If however we may believe the authorities, cited by the learned 
Vossius (/)e Origine et Progressu Idolatria, lib. i. cap. xii. p. 37, 
folio;, the Bona Dea was addicted to drunkenness, and upon one oc- 


well as according to the strict letter of the almanac. 
The garden begins to put on its gayest robe of flowers y 
the male orchis with its purple pyramids ; narcissi of 
various sorts ; the garden-squill; the narrow-leaved peontf^ 
beautiful, but short livedo in its blowing ; the globe-flower ; 
Solomons seal; the lily of the valley; the asphodel; the 
monkey-poppy ; ground ivy ; the fleur-de-lis; the speedwell; 
the creeping crowsfoot ; the wall hawkweed; and many 
others — ^tilK towards the end of the months the list of them 
would require a volume.* 

casion got well whipt for draining a flask in the temple against her 
husband's knowledge. '* Sed quam male tanta pudicitia, a Varrone 
memorata, convenit cum ejus ebiietate, de quk sic ex Sexto Clodio 
flcribit Amobius in sexto ; — Faunam igitur Fatuam, Bona quae di- 
citur Dea, transeamus; quam myrteis esesam virgis, quod marito 
nesciente, seriam meri ebiberit plenam, Sextus Clodius indicat sexto 
de diis Graecorum/* 

* The following is a brief index to the Vernal Flora. 
Common Peony. Yellow Asphodel. 

Slendeivleaved Peonj. Columbine. 

Crimson Peon j. Great Star of Bethlehem. 

Dwarf Peony. Peruvian Squill. 

Tulip in many varieties. Yellow Azalea. 

Welsh Poppy. Scarlet Azalea. 

Pale Poppy. Purple Goatsbeard. 

European Globeflower. Yellow Goatsbeard. 

Asiatic Globeflower. Motherwort. 

Bachelor's Buttons. Great Leopard's Bane. 

Lurid Iris. Lesser Leopard's Bane. 

Hock Gilliflower. Female Orchis. 

In the fields we have the following. 
Meadow Lychnis. Stichwort. 

Campion Lychnis. Yellow WateivLily. 

Mousear Scorpion-Grass. White Watei^Lily. 

Our Lady's-Smock. Harebell. 

Bitter Lady's Smock. Bulbous Crowfoot. 

Hedge Geranium. Creeping Crowfoot 

'^^^^l^ck. Upright Meadow Crowfoot. 

Charlock. Rough Crowfoot. 

The five last-mentioned flowers absolutely carpet the fields with yellow. 



In regard to the Fauna^ little can be added except that 
the swallows and martins begin to be common 5 the 
nightingales now sing both night and day ', glow-worms 
may be occasionally seen in the evening -, the green May- 
bug, burnished with gold, and the brown cock-chafer are 
abundant ; and generally the birds are in full song. 

The festival of May-day has existed in this country, 
though its form has often changed, from the earliest 
times 3 and we find abundant traces of it both in our 
poets and old chroniclers.'*' Toilet imagines that it ori^- 
nally came from our Gothic ancestors 3 and certainly, if 
that is to be taken for a proof, the Swedes and Goths wel- 
comed the first of May with songs and dance^ and many 
rustic sports ;t but there is only a general, not a parti- 

* Thus Shakspeare in Henry VIII. act r. scene iii. 
" 'Tis as much impossible 

To scatter them as 'tis to make them sleep 
On a May-morning.'' 

So too Chaucer in his Court of Love. 

t In Olaua Magnus we read ''Postquam Septetrionales populi 
communiter a principio Octobris ad finem Aprilis asperrimas hjemes 
et longiBsimas noctes, ssBvosque flatus, pruinas, nives, caligines, tem- 
pestates, immensaque frigora, et reliquas saevientium elementorum 
mutationes, quasi concessa solatia alacriter transierant, mos est diversus 
in gentibus illis remotissime distantibus, nempe qudd redeuntem soils 
splendorem singular! tripudio, praecipue versus Polum Arcticum habi- 
tantes, excipere soleant. Qui enim montosa sublimioraque loca in- 
colunt mutuis convivus gaudia multiplicantes exultant, eo qudd 
uberior redit yenatio et piscatura." Olaua Magnus de Gentium Sep- 
tentrionaHum CondiHombuSt lib. xv. cap. viii. et seq. p. 571. The 
author then goes on to detail a custom, which has nothing whatever 
to do with May-day in England. ''Alius ritus est ut primo die 
Mail, sole perTaurum agente cursnm, duplices a magistratibus urbium 
constituantur robustorum juvenum et virorum equestres turmse seu 
cohortes, tanquam ad durum aliquem conflictum progref sune, quarum 
altera sorte Jeputato duce dirigitur, qui hyemis titulo et habitu, variis 
indutus pellibuB, hastisque focalibus armatus, globatas nives et crui- 

L 3 


cular^ likeness between our May-day festivities and those 
of our Gothic ancestors. Others again have sought for 
the origin of our customs in the Floralia, or rather in the 
Maiuma of the Romans, which were established at a 
later period under the Emperor Claudius, and differed 
perhaps but little from the former, except in being more 

tatas glades qpargens ut frigora prolonget, obequitat ▼ictoriosus, ebque 
duriorem Be simulat et efficit, qud ab iraporariis stiriee glaciaies de- 
pendere iridentur. Bursumque alterius cohortis prsfectus sstatis. 
Comes Florialis appellatus, virentibus arborum frondibus, foliisque et 
floribus (difficulter repertis) vestitus, eestialibus indumentis parum se- 
curis, ex campo cum ducet hyemali, licet separato loco et oidine, ci- 
vitates ingrediuntur, hastisque edito spectaculo publico, qudd sestas 
hyemem exuperet, experiuntur.*' The substance of all which in brief 
is, that it was a custom among the Southern Swedes on the first of 
May, for two parties of youths to take upon them respectively the cha- 
racters of winter and summer. The one clad in furs flung about ice 
and snow in order to prolong the winter, while the other was led on 
by their Captain Florio, who was lightly dressed, with boughs and 
leaves, and then commenced a battle between them, which of course 
ended in summer being the victor. 

* The festival of the Maiuma originated probably at Ostia, a city 
on the sea-coast at the mouth of the Tiber, where the goddess Flora 
seems to have been more particularly worshipped, from her supposed 
power of calming the sea and rendering the winds mild and favour- 
able. It is thus described by Suidas : ** Jlavriyvptc rjysTO kv ry 
Fwjiy Kara rov Mdiov ^rjva. Trjv vapdXiov KaraXafifidvovTtc 
TToXtv, Tir/v Xiyofiivriv "Oartav, oi ra wpdra rijc Ptofitjc TfXSyrec, 
riSviraOeiv iivii\ovTO iv tqlq ^aXarrioiff D^aaiv aKK{)\ov£ IfiPaX' 
\ovreg, "OOkv Kai Maiovfidg 6 rfj^ ToiavTrji topTrJQ Kaipdc wvo- 
fidZtTO,** (Suidas, p. 2375, sub voce Ma'iovfiaQ, folio. Ozonii, 1834.) 
That is, ^'Maiumas was a Roman festival held in the month of May, 
when the heads of the city, going off to the sea-town called Ostia, gave 
themselves up to pleasure, and amused themselves with throwing each 
other into the sea. Hence the time of that festival was calle4 Maiuma." 

This festival was celebrated with much splendour, both in ban- 
quets and in offerings, as we are told by the Emperor Julian, in 



But though it may at tirst seem probable that our 
May-games may have come immediately from the Floralia, 
or Maiuma of the Romans^'*' there can be little question that 
their final origin must be sought in other countries^ and 

his satirical address, the Misopogon, to the people of Antioch, and iii 
time it appears to have degenerated so deeply into licentiousness that 
it was suppressed, so far as laws could suppress it, in the reign of Con- 
stantine, together with the feasts of Pan and Bacchus. Under the united 
rule of Arcadius and Honorlus, it was restored, though with caution, the 
imperial mandate declaring, '* clementiie nostras placuit ut Maiume 
provincialibuB leetitia reddatur ; ita tamen ut servetur honestas, et 
verecundia castis moribus perseveret." Imp. Cod. lib. xi. tit. 45. 
The admonition, however, in regard to decency and sobriety, does not 
seem to have produced any very desirable efiect upon the minds of 
the people, for in the sayie reign it was once more forbidden on the 
plea of licentiousness by a rescript to the prefect Aurelian, which is 
still extant in the Theodosian Code, (lib. xv. tit. vi.) It is, how- 
ever, plain, that though the Maiuma might be condemned by the 
edicts of emperors and the fulminations of saints — Chrysostom had 
particularly distinguished himself in this holy war against the popu- 
lar amusement — still it could not be entirely repressed, for in the 
year 1573, we find the Council of Milan indulging in a furious tirade 
against the abomination of raising Maypoles, a pretty decisive evi- 
dence that the Maiuma had not been extirpated. But neither were 
the Roman clergy of the 16th century more successful than their 
predecessors had been ; the detested Maypole was not to be put 
down, but has descended to our own days. 

* It may be as well, now I am upon this subject, to mention that 
the Romans had an absurd tradition of their May-games, their Flo- 
ralia, or Larentalia, (Laurentalia) as they called them, having been 
derived from a prostitute named Flora or Larentia. The tale was 
this : — It chanced one day, in the reign of Ancus, that the keeper of 
Hercules^ temple, finding the time hang heavy on his hands for want 
of occupation, took it into his head to challenge the god to a game of 
dice — the loser to pay the penalty of a good supper and to supply his 
victor with what Peele or Decker would have called a croshabell. 
Hercules being, we may suppose, in a good humour, accepted this 
challenge from his door-keeper, and won the game as might have been 
expected, whereupon he received his reward in meal and malt, and 



far remoter periods. Maurice'*' says^ and I have no doubt 
truly, that our May-day festival is but a repetition of the 
phallic festivals of India and Egypt^ which in those coun- 
tries took place upon the sun entering Taurus^ to cele- 
brate nature's renewed fertility. ^aXXoc in Greek signifies 
a pole, in addition to its more important meaning, of which 
this is the type ^ and in the precession of the equinoxes and 
the changes of the calendar we shall find an easy solution 
of any apparent inconsistencies arising from the difiPerence 
of seasons. For obvious reasons I can do no more than 
hint at these mysteries, which besides would require a 
volume for their full discussion. 

That the May festival has come down to us from the 
Druids, who themselves had it from India, is proved by 
many striking facts and coincidences, and by none more 
than the vestiges of the God, Bel/Y the Apollo or Orus 
of other nations. The Druids celebrated his worship on 
the first of May, by lighting immense fires in honour of 
him upon the various cams,t and hence the day is called 

the posBeasion of Larentia. But Hercules, though he might not have 
played upon the square, was yet in the main a liberal fellow, and the 
next morning, after the manner of gods and fairies, he bestowed a boon 
upon the lady, — it was, that the first person she met when returning 
home should prove of great advantage to her. And so it happened ; 
for she met a rich man, by name Carucius, who was so smitten by 
her beauty, that he married her, and upon his death bequeathed to 
her the whole of his immense wealth. This she eventually left to the 
Roman people, in requital of which act of munificence King Ancui 
bestowed upon her a handsome funeral, ordered sacrifices to be offered 
to her maneSf and a festival to be dedicated to Jove, because the 
ancients believed that the soul was given by him, and returned to him 
after death. This story will be found in the first book of the 
Saturnalia of Macrobius, vol. i. p. 241. Edit. Biponti, 1788. 

* Maurice's Indian Antiquities, vol. i. p. 87. 

f Bel was variously called Beal, Bealan, Belus, Belenus, and Bael. 

X Toland's History of the Druids, p. 115. 8vo. Montrose. 


by the aboriginal Irish and the Scotch Highlanders — both 
remnants of the Celtic stock — la Bbaltxne^ Bealtaine, 
or Beltine^ that is, the day of Belen's fire ; for, in tbe 
Cornish, which is a Celtic dialect, we find that tan is fire, 
and to tine, signifies to light the fire. The Irish still re- 
tain the Phenician custom of lighting fires at short 
distances, and making the cattle pass between them.* 
Fathers too, taking their children in their arms, jump or 
run through them^ thus passing the latter, as it were, 
through the flames, the very practice so expressly con- 
demned in ScrJpture.f But even this custom ap- 
pears to have been only a substitute for the atrocious 
sacrifice of children, as practiced by the elder Phoenicians. 
The God, Saturn — that is, Moloch — was represented by 
a statue bent slightly forward, and so placed that the 
least weight was sufiicient to alter its position. Into the 
arms of this idol the priest gave the child to be sacrificed, 
when, its balance being thus destroyed, it flung, or rather 
dropt> the victim into a fiery furnace that blazed below. t 
If other proof were wanting of Eastern origin, we might 
find them ip the fact that Britain was called by the earlier 
inhabitants the Island of Beli,§ and that Bel had also 
the name of Hu, a word which we see again occurring in 
the Hull festival of India. || 

* Higgin's Celtic Druids., chap. ▼. sect. 23. p. 181. 

+ " Aud made his son to pass through the fire, according to the 
abomination of the heathen." 2 Kings, zvi. 3. 

X There is an able article on this subject in the British and Foreign 
Quarterly Review for April, 1844, No. xxxiii. p. 61. 

§ Thus in one of the Welsh Triads, a collection of aphorisms, 
supposed to be of great antiquity, we read : *' sincerely I worship 
thee, Beli, giver of good, and Manhogan the king, who preserves the 
honours of Bel, the island qf Beli" Davies' Celtic Researches^ p. 
191, 8vo. London, 1806. 

II For an account of the Huli festival, see Asiatic Researches, vol. 
ii. p. 334. 


When Christianity found its way into Britain^ the same 
mode would seem to have been adopted in regard to the 
May-games by the wise liberality of the first missionaries, 
that we see them employing in so many other cases. Con- 
ceding to the prejudices of the people^ they did not attempt 
to root out long- established characters^ but invested them 
with another character^ as bees close in with wax the noxi- 
ous substance they are unable to remove. Thus in process 
of time the festival was not only diverted from its original 
intention, but even the meaning of its various symbols 
was forgotten. It degenerated into a mere holiday^ and 
as such long continued to be the delight of all ages and 
of all classes, from kings and queens upon the throne to 
the peasant in his cottage.'*' But amusement and crime 
seem in the minds of some people to be very nearly 
allied, and we find Stuhbes, that admirable specimen of 
his tribe, actually foaming at the mouth when descanting 
on the real or imaginary enormities of May-day. "Against 
Male, Whitsondaie, or some other tyme of the yeare, 
every parishe, towne, or village, assemble themselves 
together, bothe men, women, and children^ olde and 
yonge, even all indifferently j and either goyng all to- 
gether, or devyding themselves into companies, they goe, 
some to the woodes and groves, some to the hilles and 
mountaines, some to one place, some to an other, where 
they spende all the night in pleasant pastymes ; and in 
the mornyng they returne, bringing with them birch 
bowes and braunches of trees to deck their assemblies 

* Thus in Chaucer's Courte of Love, 

** And forth goth al the courte both most and lest 
To fetche the flouris fresh, and braunch, and blome, 
And namely hawthorn brought both page and grome.*' 

V. 1432. 
Henry the Eighth and Queen Katherine, as we shall see presently, 
used to go a-maying. 



withall. And no marvailej for there is a great lord 

present amongst them as superintendent and lorde over 

their pastymes and sportesj namely Sathan^ prince of 

hell. But their cheefest Jewell they bring from thence 

is their Mate poole, which they bringe home with greate 

veneration, as thus : They have twentie or fourtie yoke 

of oxen^ every oxe havyng a sweete nosegaie of flowers 

tyed on the tippe of his homes -, and these oxen drawe 

home this Maie poole — this stinking idoU rather — which 

is covered all over with flowers and herbes bounde rounde 

aboute with stringes, from the top to the bottome, and 

sometyme painted with variable colours, with twoo or 

three hundred me, women^ and children followyng it 

with greate devotion. And thus beyng reared up, with 

handkercheifes^and flagges streamyng on the toppe, they 

strawe the grounde aboute, binde greene boughes about 

it, sett up sommer haulles, bowers, and arbours hard by 

it. And then fall they to banquet and feast, to leape and 

daunce aboute it, as y heathen people did at the dedication 

of their idolles, whereof this is a perfect patterne, or 

rather the thyng itself. I have heard it credibly reported, 

— and that vivSl voce — by men of great gravitie, credite, 

and reputation, that of fourtie, threescore, or a hundred 

maides goyng to the woode over night, there have 

scarcely the third parte of them returned home againe 


It is curious enough to contrast the effusions of this 
rabid fanatic with the pleasing picture of the same 
custom left to us by Stowe. " In the moneth of May," 
says the cheerful old man, '^ namely on May-day in the 
morning, every man, except impediment, would walke 
into the sweete meadows and greene woods, there to 
rejoyce their spirites with the beauty and savour of 

* Anatomie of Abuses, folio 54. 12mo. London, 1585. 


sweete flowers^ and with the harmony of birds praysing 
God in their kind; and for example hereof Edward 
Hall hath noted that K. Henry the Eighty as in the 
3 of his reigne and divers other years^ so namely on the 
seventh of his reigne on May-day in the morning with 
Queene Katheren his wife^ accompanied with many 
Lords and Ladies^ rode a Maying from Greenwitch to 
the high ground of Shooter's hill« where as they passed 
by the way they espied a company of tall yeomen 
clothed all in Greene, with greene whoodes and with 
bowes and arrowes to the number of 100. One being 
their chleftaine was called Robin Hoode^ who required 
the king and his companie to stay and see his men 
shoote^ whereunto the king graunting, Robin Hoode 
whistled^ and all the 200 archers shot off losing all at 
once ; and when he whistled againe, they likewise shot 
againe ; their arrowes whistled by craft of the head, so 
that the noyse was strange and loude, which greatly 
delighted the king, queene, and their companie."* 

It may seem strange that Robin Hood should be so 
prominent a figure in a festival, which originated long 
before he was born, since we first find mention of him 
and his forest companions in the reign of King John, 
while the Floral games of England, as we have seen, 
had their rise with the Druids, whose connection with 
the East we have elsewhere noticed. But this knot 
may be untied without much difficulty. The sports of 
Robin Hood were no doubt first instituted for the en- 
couragement of archery, and there is little to surprize 
us if a recreation, so especially connected with summer 
and the forest, was celebrated in the opening of the 
year — ^the opening that is so far as it related to rural 
sports and pleasures. By degrees it would naturally 

* Stou)*8 Survey of London, p. 99, 4to. 1603. 


enough become blended with the festival already exist- 
ing^ and in a short time from its superior attractions it 
would become the principal feature of it ; for^ as we 
shall presently see, a May -day festival consisted of va- 
rious sports, derived from different sources, and having 
no bond of union beyond a common relation tO the 

In the earlier periods it had ever been the custom to 
elect a Lord and Lady of the May, who in all likelihood 
presided over the sports, the Lady being unquestionably a 
descendant of the Goddess Flora, while the Lord was 
the addition of after times; the giving to her such an 
associate was the natural result of her ceasing to be 
worshipped as a deity. But in the sixteenth century the 
names of Robin Hood and bis companions had become 
exceedingly popular, the ballads, which recounted their 
exploits, being for ever in the mouths of the people, while 
archery was the delight of all classes ; men besides were 
still too much accustomed to acts of violence to regard 
lawlessness as any very grievous moral offence, although 
they might visit it with punishment ; a depredator there- 
fore of the Robin Hood species, who was brave, generous, 
and skilful almost to a miracle in the use of the national 
weapon, was looked upon not so much as a criminal as 
a gallant enemy, who was to be destroyed if possible, 
but who was not the less a subject of admiration ; and 
hence by a process intelligible enough, though we are 
no longer able to trace the details, Robin Hood became 
the Lord, and Maid Marian the Lady of the May while 
their companions grouped about them, and helped to 
give a sort of rude dramatic character to the festival. 

Clear as this theory is — as clear as any theory can be 
that will not admit of positive proof — ^it has been dis- 
puted. Mr. Douce says, " the introduction of Robin 


Hood into the celebration of May probably suggested 
the addition of a king or lord of May.'** One would 
think that common sense alone, without any help from 
research, was sufficient to show the fallacy of such a 
notion -, but to set the question beyond all doubt we 
have 'mention of a king in the popular sports long be- 
fore the time of Robin Hood's introduction.f 

It is in the same spirit that he observes of Maid 
Marian, '^ none of the materials that constitute the more 
authentic history of Robin Hood, prove the existence of 
such a character in the shape of his mistress." I must 
confess I do not understand what he means by " more 
authentic records." The whole life of Robin Hood, as 
we have it,]: is a mere legendary tradition, the theme of 
plays and ballads, and though Maid Marian is never 
mentioned in the latter, it is surely quite enough that 
we find her recorded in the two old plays of The death 
and downfall of Robert, Earl of Huntington, written before 
l^KX), and also in other dramatic compositions about the 
same period. But Mr. Douce, though a man of much 
research, was not particularly remarkable for clearness or 
length of vision. 

At the same time, it must in common fairness be re- 
marked that Warton, a high authority, seems to have en- 
tertained something [of the same idea, for he observes 

• Dotice'8 Illustrations qf Shakesptare, vol ii. p. 454. 

+ Thus we find that a Btrict command was given in the Sjnod at 
Worcester, a.d. 1240. Can. 38, '* ne intersint ludis inhonestis, nee 
sustineant ludos fieri de Reob et Rbgina.'* KennetVs Parochial 
Antiquities — Glossarj — sub voce Arietum Levatto, 4to. Oxford. 1695. 

t Of course it will be understood that my remark is limited to 
the life and doings of the merrj outlaw, and not to Robin Hood as 
Earl of Huntington, for whom the antiquarians have made out a 
pedigree, which I have no doubt is as true as half the pedigrees in 


that the name of Marian might have been suggested by 
a French Pastoral Drama of the eleventh or twelfth 
century, in which Robin and Marian, a shepherd and 
shepherdess, are the principal characters. This piece, 
called Le Jeu de Berger et de la Bergere, was highly 
popular amongst the French, and it must he admitted 
that there is something startling in the juxta-position of 
the two names, but here all likeness ends 5 there is no- 
thing else in common to the French Pastoral and the 
English May-games. I am inclined therefore to think 
that the coincidence is merelv accidental. 

But however this may be, it would appear as if with 
the decline of archery this part of the May -games de- 
clined also and became a merely grotesque exhibition. 
Marian, the queen, or Lady of the May, degenerated into 
Malkin, and was personated by a clown 3 many of the 
characters dropt off — ^Friar Tuck does not appear after 
the time of Elizabeth — and the game, now a mere bur- 
lesque, was not confined to May-day, but was transferred 
to Whitsuntide, and bride-ales, and other festivals. 

The next class of May-day festivals to be considered 
is the Morris-dance, of which Robin Hood and his com- 
panions often, but not always, nor of necessity, formed 
the principal characters. It is generally supposed to be 
of Moorish origin, and to be derived to us from Spain. 
Hence its name. And in confirmation of this opinion 
we are told by Junius, that at one time the dancers 
blackened their faces to resemble Moors.* Strutt in- 
deed, thinks differently 5 but his arguments, which are 
not very strong in themselves, seem to be altogether set 
aside by the fact of the word, Morris, being applied in 

* "Faciem plerumque inficiunt fuligine, et peregrinum yestium 
cultum aBsumunt, qui ludicris talibus indulgent, ut Mauri ekse 
videantur, aut h longius remota patrl^ credantur advolasse.'* F. 
Jurtii Etymologicum Anglicaryum, sub voce. 

. i 


the same way by other nations to express a dance, that 
both English and foreign glossaries alike ascribe to the 
Moors. That the dance is not exactly the same with us 
as the fandango, the real Morisco, can by no means be 
considered as invalidating this argument, for similar de- 
viations from originals have taken place in other borrow- 
ed amusements. Mr. Douce well exemplifies this by 
the alterations made in the games of chess and cards> 
both of which^ it is generally agreed^ were invented in 
India or China. 

Some again would derive this dance from the Pyrrhica 
Saltatio of the Romans, the military dance of their Salii, 
or priests of Mars, which in all probability originated 
with the Greeks. That the Pyrrhica saltatio has de- 
scended to modern times is beyond all question. We 
have it, or had it, a few years since, amongst ourselves 
under the name of the sword dance, and it still exists 
in France as the dance of fools or Mattachins, ''who 
were habited in short jackets with gilt paper helmets, 
long streamers tied to their shoulders^ and bells to their 
legs ; they carried in their hands a sword and buckler, 
with which they made a clashing noise, and performed 
various quick and sprightly evolutions.*'* But, notwith- 
standing some points of similarity, the SNVord-dance and 
the morris-dance are not the same^ and their names as 
well as character denote their respective origin. 

From whatever source the Morris-dance may have 
been derived, it would seem to have been first brought 
into England about the time of Edward the Third, when 
John of Gaunt returned from Spain. The principal 
characters of it generally, though not always, were 
Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Scarlet, Stokesley, Little 
John, the Hobby Horse, the Bavian or Fool, Tom the 

* Deuce's JlluslraHofu qf Shakespeare^ vol. ii. p. 435. 


Piper, with his pipe and tabor, the Dragon, of which last 
we have no mention before the time of the fanatic 
Stubbes^* — that is not before 1585. But it must be dis- 
tinctly understood that the number of characters varied 
much at different times and places — so much so indeed 
that it is impossible to give anything like an accurate 
account of all the changes. '* Sometimes/' says Douce, 
" we have a Lady of the May simply, with a Friar Tuck ; 
in later times a Maid Marian remained without even a 
Robin Hood or a Friar ;*' and the hobby-horse was 
often omitted 3 1 either from design or accident, even 

* Stubbes is bad enoiigb of all conscience, but he had plenty of 
fanatics to keep him in countenance, as absurd and as sour.faced to 
the full as he could be. Thus Fetherstone (Dialogue agaynst light 
lewde, and lascivious dancing : 1582, 12mo. sig. D. 7.) as quoted by 
the indefatigable Douce, says, " The abuses, which are committed in 
your May-games are infinite. The first whereof is this, that you 
doe use to attyre in woman's apparrell whom you doe most commonly 
call May-marrions, whereby you infringe that straight commande- 
ment, whiche is given in Deut. xxii. 5, that men must not put on 
women's apparrell for feare of enormities. Nay, I myself, have 
seene in a May-game, a troupe, the greater part whereof hath been 
men, and yet have they been attyred so like unto women, that theyr 
faces being hidde (as they were indeede) a mane coulde not disceme 
them from women. The second abuse, which of all other is the 
greatest, is this, that it hath been toulde that your morris-dancers 
have daunced naked in nettes ; what greater entisement unto naught- 
iness could have been devised ? The third abuse is that you (because 
you will loose no tyme) doe use commonly to runne into woodes in 
the night time, amongst maidens, to fet bowes, in so muche, as I 
have hearde, of tenne maidens, which went to fet May, nine of 
them came home with childe." The good old times, as some choose 
to call them, were no doubt exceedingly profligate, but they can 
scarcely have been so bad as represented by the fanatic cotemporaries. 

+ Clod. They should be morris-dancers by their gingle, but they 
have no napkins. 

Cockrel. No, nor a hobby-horse. 

Clod. Oh, Ac'« often forgotten, that's no rule; but there is no 
Maid Marian nor Friar amongst them, which is the surer mark. 


when Maid Marian, the Friar, and the Bavian or fool 
were continued in it. Other figures also occasionally 
mingled with them, as appears from ToUett's window, 
such as Flemings, Spaniards, a Morisco^ &c. ; but there 
is too much uncertainty as to the actual meaning of these 
figures to warrant our drawing any conclusions. 

In regard to the costume of these characters, that also 
varied, and seems in some instances to have followed the 
fashion of the day. Fortunately we are able to give a 
very good general idea of it from the account Mr. Tol- 
lett has left us of a stained or painted window,* which 
appears from time immemorial to have ornamented a 
room in his house at Betley in Staffordshire, but to 
which there belongs no tradition. 

Maid Marian. — Golden crown on her head 3 in her 
left hand, a flower, seemingly a pink, as the emblem of 
summer; purple coif; surcoat, blue j cuffs, white; skirts 
of her robe, yellow 5 sleeves, carnation 5 stomacher, red, 
with a yellow lace in cross bars. 

Friar Tuck. — Full clerical tonsure ; in his right hand 
chaplet of white and red beads -, corded red girdle, orna- 
mented with a golden twist and tassel of the same ; 
russet habit, denoting him to be of the Franciscan order, 
or one of the grey friars, so called from the colour of 

Cockrel. Nor a fool that I see. 
B. Jonaon'a Gipsies Metamorphosed, vol. vii. p. 397, GifFord*8 
Aod again : 

" But see the hobby-horse is forgot. 
Fool, it must be your lot 
To supply his want with faces 
And some other buffoon graces.*' 

The Satyr— U, vol. vi. p. 483. 
• This account will be found at full length in the appendix to 
Shakespeare* 8 Henry IF. part i. SteeverCs ed, 1803. 


their garments ; stockings, red 3 a wallet^ hanging from 
his girdle, for the reception of provisions. 

The Fool. — In his hand the bauble, which is yellow 5 
on his head a coxcomb-hood with ^ass* ears, the top of 
the hood rising into the form of a cock's neck and head, 
with a bell at the latter ; it is blue, guarded or edged 
with yellow at its scalloped bottom ; doublet, red, 
striped across, or rayed, with a deeper red, and edged 
with yellow ; girdle, yellow ; left side hose, yellow, with 
a red shoe ; right side hose, blue, soled with red leather. 

Tom Piper, — Bonnet, red, faced or turned up with 
yellow; doublet, blue; sleeves, blue, turned up with 
yellow, something like mufFetees at his wrists ; over his 
doublet a red garment like a short cloak with arm-holes, 
and with a yellow cape ; hose, red, and garnished across 
and perpendicularly on the thighs with a narrow yellow 

The Hobby 'horse, — It is hardly necessary to explain 
that the hobby-horse was represented by a man equip- 
ped with as much pasteboard as was sufficient to form 
the head and hinder parts of a horse, the quadrupedal 
defects being concealed by a long mantle or foot-cloth 
that nearly touched the ground ; the man's legs stood 
for those of the horse, while his own were represented 
by two stuffed legs fastened at the sides ; but this mo- 
dern sort of centaur may still be seen upon the stage in 
various burlesques, and must therefore be familiar to 
most of our readers. Its appearance in 'ancient times 
may be thus described : The colour of the horse was a 
reddish white, like the blossom of a peach-tree 5 in the 
horse's mouth was a ladle,* ornamented with a ribbon, 

* In later times, it would seem that the fool held the ladle ; thus 
in Nashe's old play of Summer's Last Will and Tbstambnt — 
** Fer goes tw, and fetcheth out the Hobby-horse and the morris 
daunce, who [daunce about. 


to receive the spectators' pecuniary donations^ crimson foot- 
cloth fretted with gold ; golden bit -, purple bridle with a 
golden tassel, and studded with gold ; the rider*s mantel 
purple, with a golden border latticed with purple -, crown 
of gold 5 purple cap with a red feather ; coat, or 
doublet, yellow on the right side, and red on the left 
with buttons.* He was evidently a juggler, and played 
off legerdemain tricks, for the amusement of the popu- 
lace, as appears by the sword in his cheeks in this paint- 
ing, and also by many scattered hints in the old drama- 
tists, more particularly Ben Jonson. 

In later times — that is to say, about the reign of Henry 
the Eighth — the Morris-dancers wore dresses of gilt 
leather and silver paper^ and sometimes coats of white, 
spangled fustian, with streamers fluttering from the 
sleeves.f They had garters also about the knees, to 
which bells were attached, and carried purses at their 
girdles. Sometimes too they had bells on each leg to 
the number of twenty or forty, and sometimes they 
jingled them in the hands. The allusions to such customs 
are frequent in our old writers for the stage. It was 
also usual for the characters to decorate their hats with a 
nosegay, or with the herb, thrift, formerly called our Lady's 
cushion. Thus Soto^ in Women Pleased, says, when re- 
buking one of his subordinates for coming before him 

*' Where are your bells then f 
Your rings, your ribons, friend, and your clean napkin ? 
Your nosegay in your hat f *'t 

" Ver. About, about, lively, put your horse to it, reyne him harden 
jerke him with your wand, sit fast, sit fast, rnani; foole, hold up your 
ladle there." Sig. B 2. 

* Of all the figures in ToUett's window, this is the only one that 
has buttons upon it. 

f See Douce*s Illustrations qf Shakspeare, vol. ii. p. 473. 

X Beaumont and Fletcher's Women Pleased^ act iv. scene 1 . 


And Green in his Quip for an Upstart Courtier says, 
" they wore beesoms of thrift in their hats like forehorses, 
or the lusty gallant in a Morrice-daunce.*'* 

We have already hinted at the remoter origin of the 
May-pole, as explained by Maurice in his Indian antiqui- 
ties. It must not however be concealed that the ingenious 
though somewhat fanciful Cieland has given to it a very 
different source and meaning. In his opinion the May- 
pole was nothing more than the standard of justice erected 
in the centre of the area, or market-place, which in those 
days was only a quick-set inclosure of trees felled and 
disposed of in the best way for defence. " In the vacation 
times there was nothing added to this May-pole. But 
when the days consecrated to justice came on, the decla- 
ration was made by banging a garland on it. The word 
Term, expressive of the solemn circling of the May-pole, 
has at least as good a claim to be the real derivative as 
the Latin terminus, which is so much fitter to signify the 
shutting up courts instead of opening them ) rather in a 
negative sense, the end of a vacation, than the affirmative 
beginning of a public act.'*t It certainly seems to 
strengthen this theory that dances made an essential part 
of all religious ceremonies in the Druid times, but still I 
must believe with Maurice that the May-games were 
originally a phallic festival. 

The May-pole was made sometimes of oak,| at others 

* Sig. B. 2. 

+ The Way to Things by Words, (published without the author's 
name.) 8vo. London, 1766. 

X ** The tall young oak is cut down for a Maypole, and the frolic fry 
of the town preyent (i.e. anticipate) the rising sun ; and with joy in 
their faces, and boughs in their hands, they march before it to the 
place of erection.'' — The Twelve Moneths, by M. Steyenson, — May— 
p. 22, 4to. 1661. 

VOL. I. n 


of elm,* and at others again of birch^f painted yellow and 
black in spiral lines, | and ornamented at the top with a 
ilag.§ In some parts of the country it was suffered to 
stand untouched the whole year round. || 

At Oxford, and the custom does not seem to have been 
confined to that place^ Aubrey tells us, " the boys doe 
blow cowshorns and hollow canes all night ; and on May- 
day the young maids of every parish carry about their 
parish garlands of flowers, which afterwards they hang 
up in their churches."^ Hearne derives this blowing of 
horns** from a custom they had amongst the Greeks and 
Romans, as well as amongst the Jews, of using the horn 
for a drinking cup, and in proof thereof gives sundry 
quotations from Homer, Nonnus, and the scholiasts on 
Nicander. All this learning is wasted to very little pur- 
pose 3 the mere fact of its being a cheap instrument of 
noise, to be procured with very little trouble, would suf- 
ficiently account for the use of it without going to the 
Greeks and Romans. 

Some classes, such as the milkmaids and the chimney- 

• " From towns they made excursions on May-eve into the country, 
cut down a tall elm, bring it into town with rejoicings, and having 
fitted a straight taper pole to the end of it, and painted it, erect it in 
the most public part, and upon holidays and festivals dress it with 
garlands of flowers, or ensigns and streamers.*' — Borlase*8 Natural 
History qf Cornwall, p. 294. Folio. Oxford, 1758. 

t In his Welsh Dictionary, Owen explains Bedwen by *' a birch tree ; 
also a May. pole, because it was always made of birch.'' 

X See Toilettes account of his window, flg. 8, in Jonson and 
Steeven'fl Shakspeare, at the end of Henry IV. part 1. 

§ Lodge, in his Wit's Miserie, (p. 27 » 4to. London, 1596,) when 
describing Usury says, ** like the flag in the top of a Maypole." 

II Boume*s Antiguitates Vulgares, p. 201, 8vo. Newcastle, 1725. 
^ Aubreys Gentilisme and Judaisme, folio 108, MS. Brit. Mus. 
** See Preface tolleame's Robert qf Gloucester's Chronicle, vol. i. 
p. 18. 8vo. London, 1724. 


sweepers^ have in particular assumed this day for a dis- 
tinctive festival; or^ what is more likely^ they continued 
to celebrate it long after it fell into disuse with their 
neighbours. The first of these have in most parts dis- 
continued their peculiar mayings, though Strutt^ who 
wrote little more than seventy years ago, says,* ''the 
mayings are in some sorte yet kept up by the milk-maids 
at London, who go about the streets with their garlands 
and music dancing.'* Misson too, but he is of yet earlier 
date, has described the same thing, and more minutely — 
'* On the first of May," he observes, " and the five and 
six days following, all the pretty young country girls that 
serve the town with milk, dress themselves up very neatly, 
and borrow abundance of silver plate, whereof they make 
a pyramid, which they adorn with ribbands and flowers, 
and carry upon their heads instead of common milk-pails. 
In this equipage, accompany 'd by some of their fellow 
milk-maids and a bagpipe or fiddle, they go from door to 
door, dancing before the houses of their customers, in 
the midst of boys and girls, that follow them in troops, 
and everybody gives them something."t 

The plate here alluded to, was in many, — I believe, in 
most — instances borrowed from some pawnbroker at so 
much per hour, and always under bond from responsible 
housekeepers for its safe return. In this way the same plate 
and garland would be let out to different parties in the 
course of the day, one set hiring them from ten till one, 
and another from one o'clock to six. Those who could 
not afford this display, had recourse to a custom much 
more simple and beautiful. A cow, selected no doubt for 
the superiority of her personal attractions, was tricked 
out for the occasion as fine as flowers and ribbons of all 

* Strutfa View of the Mannera, &c., vol. ii. p. 99. 

t Misson* 8 TVave/s, translated by OzelI,p. 307, 8yo. London, 1719. 

M 2 


colours could make her ; they were twined about her 
hums^ her neck, her tail, and even garlanded the rope by 
which she was led, while a net, with similar ornaments 
interwoven, was flung across her back, as though she had 
been a lady's palfrey. In this state Bessy was paraded 
along in triumph by a pretty country girl, quite as gay as 
herself with flowers and ribbons, the mistress marching 
at her side in like fashion. Nor is it many years since 
this primitive and pleasing show might have been wit- 
nessed within the sound of the old abbey-bells. 

Many superstitions belong to May-day in practice that 
do not appear to have any necessary, or natural connection 
with it Thus the month itself is held to be unlucky for 
the solemnization of marriage, an idea probably derived 
to us through Popish times from the ancient Romans.'*' 
To bathe the face in dew that lies upon the morning grass 
will on this particular day be as beneficial as the bath of 
beauty in the fairy tales. f Divinations also of various 
kinds are practised. In Northumberland they fish with a 
ladle for a wedding-ring, that has been dropt into a bowl 
of syllabub, the object being to prognosticate who shall 
first be married. J It would seem too that a species of di- 
vination was practised with snails. This was done by 
strewing the hearth with white embers, placing a snail 
upon them, and from the lines traced by the creature in 

« So Oyid, a master in such matters, affinns : 

" Nee viduaB taedis eadem, nee virginis apta 
Tempera ; quae nupsit, non diuturna fuit. 
Hac quoque de causa, si te proverbia langunt, 
Mense malas Maio nubere vulgus ait." 

Fetstorum, lib. v. ver. 486—490. 
t Brandos Popular Antigmties, vol. i. p. 126. l2mo. edit. London, 

X Hutchinson's Northumberland, vol. ii. p. 14, of Ancient Customs — 
at the end of the volume. 


its progress imagining some letter which was to correspond 
with the initials of the "secret love."* 

Haythorn, or white thorn, gathered now is an infallible 
safe-guard against witches, as we are told by that inde- 
fatigable discoverer of witchcraft, Reginald Sfiot.f " And 
now to be delivered from witches themselves, they hang 
in their entries an hearbe called pentaphyllon, cinque-fole, 
also an olive branch, also frankincense, myrrh, valerian, 
verven, palm, antirchmon,^ &c., also hay-thorne, otherwise 
called white-thorne,§ gathered on Maie-daie." Finally, 
in regard to this branch of our subject, a superstition re- 
mains to be noticed, peculiar, as I believe, to the Isle of 
Lewis, one of the Western Islands of Scotland. " The 
natives in the village of Barvas retain an ancient custom 
of sending a man very early to cross Barvas river, every 
first day of May, to prevent any females crossing it first j 
for that, they say, would hinder the salmon from coming 
into the river all the year round. They pretend to have 
learned this from a foreign sailor, who was shipwrecked 

« Gay*s Sftepherd's Week, 4th Pastoral. 

t Discoverie of Witchcraft, By Reginald Scot, cap. xviii. ]p. 268. 
4to. London, 1584. 

t Although the word is so printed in both editions, I have no doubt 
whateyer of its being a typographical blunder, for antirrhinon, some- 
times called a;tarr Atnon,or Jjchnis agria,Anglice the herb calves* snout, 
or snap-dragon ; in French mufle de veau ; and in Greek cynocepha- 
lion. Pliny describes it as having no root — he could haye been no 
very correct obseryer — of a hyacinthine flower, and the seed like a 
calf s snout. Magicians, he adds, have a high opinion of this herb, 
deeming that whoever wears it about the arm is safe from all poison, 
and evil charms, while to be anointed with it renders the person beau- 
tiful. In the first of the two qualities attributed to it, we see the cause 
of the superstition recorded by Scot. 

§ This by a typographical blunder is printed white-home in the 
quarto of 1584, but it is corrected in the folio. 


on that coast a long time ago. This observation they 
maintain o be true from experience.*** 

Had the fanatics endeavoured to cure the people of 
these and the like superstitious follies they might have 
done some good, and would certainly have deserved some 
credit. But in this respect they were to the full as blind 
as their neighbours, and all the overflowing of their gall, 
which was not a little, was directed solely to put down an 
amusement,which they considered, and with reason, as op- 
posed to their own religious traffic 5 it is not till the mind 
becomes completely soured and weaned from every thing 
like pleasure that it is fitted to receive their gloomy tenets. 
Hence, the jealous hatred borne by the fanatics of all 
ages towards the popular sports and pastimes, from the 
time of Lactantiusf to those of Stubbes, or of Thomas 
Hall, the pastor, as he calls himself, of King s Norton — it 
should have been Hog's Norton, for a verier swine never 
wallowed in the mire of bigotry. In his Funebria Fhrte, 
or the Downfall of May-games, J he brings twenty argu- 

* Martin* 8 Description qf Western Islands of Scotland, p. 7 8vo. 
London, 1716. 

f Lactantius, who flourished at the end of the third, and the begin- 
ning of the fourth century, and therefore might have known better, 
adopted the idle legend of Flora having been a prostitule, and dog- 
matizes upon this subject with his usual bitterness, ** Celebrantur," he 
says, " illi ludicum omni lascivi^, convenienter memorise meretricis, 
nam praeter yerborum licentiam, quibus obsceenitas omnis effunditur, 
exuuntur etiam yestibus, populo ilagitante, meretrices, quae tunc mi- 
marum funguntur officio, et in conspectu populi usque ad satietatem 
impudicerum luminum cum pudendis motibus detinentur." Lactantii 
InstituHonum, lib. i. — De Falsa Religione, 

As a father of the Church, Lactantius must have been both pious 
and modest *, it follows as a matter of course ; but without making 
any particular pretensions to either of these qualities, I should be 
ashamed to translate his modesty into English. 

:}: Quarto. London, 1660. 


ments in the form of theses against poor Flora^ with a 
brief dissertation upon each, and ends by trying her be- 
fore a packed jury of his own Puritans, who as a matter 
of course bring her in guilty, when the parson, as judge, 
thus pronounces sentence : " Flora, thou hast been in- 
dited by the name of Flora for bringing in abundance of 
misrule and disorder into church and state ; thou hast been 
found guilty, and^art condemned both by God and man, 
by scriptures, fathers, councils, by learned and pious 
divines, both old and new, and therefore 1 adjudge thee 
to perpetual banishment.*'* 

There was perhaps no great harm in these impotent 
railings, and they at least show that the attempts of the 
parliament about eighteen years before to put down May- 
games had not been able to root out this festival from 
the affections of the people, t In the words of Macbeth, 

* Funebria Florae^ p. 30. 

f '' And because," says this precious enactment, *' the prophan- 
ation of the Lord's day hath been heretofore greatly occasioned by 
May> poles, (a heathenish vanity generally abused to superstition and 
wickedness) the Lords and Commons do further order and ordain 
that all and singular May-poles, that are or shall be erected, shall 
'be taken down and removed by the constables, borsholders, tything- 
men, petty constables and churchwardens of the parishes,* '—mercy 
on us ! what an army to put down a poor May-pole ! — " where the 
same be ; and that no May-pole shall be hereafter set up, erected, or 
suffered to be within this kingdom of England or dominion of Wales. 

" And it is Airther ordained that if any of the said officers sliall 
neglect to do their office in the premises within one week after no- 
tice of this ordinance, every of them for such neglect shall forfeit five 
shillings of lawful moneys ; and so from week to week, weekly 6ve 
shillings, more afterwards Hill the said May-pole shall be removed." 

The act then goes on to denounce the King's declaration :— 

*'And it is further ordained by the said Lords and Commons that 
the King's declaration concerning observing of wakes, and use of ex- 
ercise and recreation upon the Lord's Day; the book intituled 
The King^s MajeaHes Declaration to hie subjects concerning lawfull 


tbey had ** scotched the snake, not killed it/* and with the 
restoration of the Stuarts the May-pole was also restored. 
And yet the Parliament in the time of the great Civil 
War had been strenuous in their endeavours to put down 
amusements of every kind, and to make Sunday a day 
of mourning. They had forbidden travelling on the 
Sabbath under heavy fines, or the crying or selling of fruits 
and herbs, or even the dressing of me&t at inns except 
in a moderate way, and had even set their veto upon the 
ringing of bells, so far as it could be considered an 
amusement. To crown all, parents and masters were 
made responsible for the strict conformity with this act 

sports to be used ; and all other books and pamphlets that have been 
or shall be written, printed, or published, against the morality of the 
fourth commandment, or of the Lord's Day, or to countenance the 
prophanation thereof, be called in, seized, suppressed, and publiquely 
burnt by the justices of peace, &c. April 6, anno 1644.*' — A Collec- 
tion of Acta and Ordinances by Henry Scobellf folio Lond. 1658, cap. 
xxxyii. p. 68. 

This however is but a renewal of hostilities against the popular 
sports; in the year previous they had ordered that King Charles' 
** Booke of Sports " should be burnt by the common hangman as 
appears by the following broadside : — 

« Die Veneris 5*» Mali 1643. 
" It is this day ordered by the Lords and Commons in Parliament, 
that the Booke concerning the enjoyning and toUerating of Sports 
upon the Lord's Day be forthwith burned by the hand of the com- 
mon hangman in Cheape-side and other usuall places. And to this 
purpose the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex respectively are hereby 
required to be assistants to the effectuall execution of this order, and 
see the said books burnt accordingly ; and all persons who have any 
of the said oks in their houses are hereby required forthwith to 
deliver them to one of the Sheriffes of London to be bumt according 

to this order. 

John Brownb, Cler. Pari. 

Henry Elsyngb, Cler. P. D. Com. 


The Sheriffes qf London and Middlesex have assigned Wednesday 
next the lOth of this instant May, at twelve qf the elockf for the 


of those under their control, provided they were not 
more than fourteen years old.* 

putting in execution of the foresaid Ordinance, and ther^ore doe 
require aU persons that have any of the Bookes therein mentioned to 
bring them in by that time, that they may be burned accordingly. 

John Langham. 

Thomas Andrews. 


Printed for Thomas Underhill in Great Wood-street, May 9th, 1643." 
This rare broadside is to be found in the British Museum with the 
press-mark 669. f.7 


I hardly know whether it is necessary to add that a borsholder 
mentioned in the first of these enactments is a tything-man — " Tenne 
tythings,'* says Spenser, " make an hundred ; and five make a lathe 
or wapentake ; of which tenne each one was bound for another ; and 
the eldest or best of them, whom they called the tythingman or 
borsolder, that is the eldest pledge, became surety for all the rest." 

* '*No person y or persons whatsoever shall publickly cry, shew 
forth, or expose to sale, any wares, merchandizes, fruit, herbs, goods or 
chattels whatsoever upon the Lord's Day. No person, or persons 
whatsoever shall, without reasonable cause for the same, travel, carry 
burthens, or do any worldly labours, or work whatsoever upon that 
dfty, or any part thereof. 

** No person, or persons, shall hereafter upon the Lord*s day use, 
exercise, keep, maintain, or be present at any Wrestlings, Shooting, 
Bowling, Ringing of Bells for Pleasure or Pastime, Masque, Wake, 
otherwise called Feasts, Church-ale, Dancing, Games, Sport or 
Pastime whatsoever. 

** Nothing in this ordinance shall extend to the prohibiting of the 
dressing of meat in private families, or the dressing and sale of victuals 
in a moderate way in innes or victualling houses for the use of such 
as can not otherwise be provided for." April 6, 1644. — ScobeWs 
Collectiony cap. xxxvii. p. 69. 

These saints moreover were pleased to allow milk to be cried be- 
fore nine and after four from the 10th of September to the 1 0th of 
March ; and before eight and after five from the 10th of March to the 
10th of September. 

M 3 


In addition to the sports and pastimes already de- 
scribed^ there prevails iii the North of England a custom 
of making fools on the 1st of May similar to that more 
generally practised on the 1 st of April. So at least says 
a writer in the Gentleman's Magazine,* who tells us, that 
" U. P. K. spells May-goslings is an expression used by 
boys at play, as an insult to the losing party. U. P. K. 
is up'pick, up with your pin or peg, the mark of the 
goal. An additional punishment was thusj the winner 
made a hole in the ground with his heel, into which a 
peg about three inches long was driven, its top being 
belowHhe surface ; the loser with his hands tied behind 
him was to pull it up with his teeth, the boys buffetting him 
with their hats, and calling out, Up-peck, you May-gosling ; 
or, U, P, K, gosling in May. A May gosling on the Ist of 
May is made with as much eagerness in the North of 
England, as an April noddy (noodle) or fool, on the 1st 
of April." 

About eighty years ago the great May-fair was held 
near Piccadilly on a spot which still retains the name of 
May-fair. Carter, the antiquarian, writing of it in 1816, 
says it then still existed in much the same state it had 
done fifty years before, and as his account is full of 
curious interest I shall give it at some length. — *' May- 
fair exists in much the same state as at the above period ; 
for instance. Shepherd's Market,* and houses surround- 

♦ For April, 1791, vol. Ixi. p. 327. 

t Shbphbrd*b Market was thus 'called not from sheep being 
bought and sold there, but from the name of the builder, Shbp- 
HBARD, who in 1738 obtained a grant from the government for estab- 
lishing on that spot a market for live cattle, (see Gentleman's Maga- 
zine for March, 1738, vol. viii. p. 164. It must, however, have fallen 
into neglect in the course of time, for in the same work for January 
1750, p. 40, we are told *' the market was opened at May-fair for all 
sorts of cattle as at Smithfield." 


ing it on the north and east sides^ with \Vhite- horse- 
street, Sbepherd's-court, Sun-court, Market- court : west- 
wards, an open space extending to Tyburn (now Park- 
lane) now built upon in Chapel-street, Shepherd*8-street, 
Mar]|^t-street, Hertford-street, &c. 5 southwards, the 
noted Ducking -pond, house and gardens, since built up- 
on, in a large Riding-school, Carrington- street, &c. The 
Market-house consisted of two stories ; first story, a 
long and cross aisle for butcher's shops, externally, other 
shops connected with culinary purposes j second story, 
used as a theatre at fair time for dramatic performances* 
Below the butchers gave place to toymen and ginger- 
bread bakers. At present^ the upper story is unflored 
the lower ditto nearly deserted by the butchers, and their 
shops occupied by needy pedling dealers in small wares 5 
in truth, a most deplorable contrast to what was once 
such a point of allurement. In the areas encompassing 
the market-building were booths for jugglers, prize- 
fighters, both at cudgels and back-sword, boxing-matches, 
and wild beasts. The sports not under cover were 
mountebanks, fire-eaters, ass-racing, sausage-tables, dice 
ditto, up-and-downs, merry-go-rounds, bull-baiting, grin- 
ning for a hat, running for a shift, hasty-pudding eaters, 
eel-divers, and an infinite variety of other similar pas- 
times. Among the extraordinary and wonderful delights 
of the happy spot, take the following few items, which 
still hold place within my mind, though I can not affirm 
they all occurred at one precise season. The account 
may be relied on as I was born and passed my youthful 
days in the vicinity, in Piccadilly (Carter's statuary) two 
doors from the south end of White-horse -street, since 
rebuilt and occupied at present by Lady Pulteney. 

'^Ducking-pond, with a large commodious house, good 
disposure of walks, arbours, alcoves -, and in an area be- 


fore the house an extensive bason of water, otherwise 
Ducking- pond, for the recreation of lovers of that polite 
and' humane sport. Persons who came with their dogs 
paid a trifling fee for admission, being considered the 
chief patrons and supporters of the pond ; other%who 
visited the place as mere spectators, paid a double fee. 
A duck was put into the pond by the master of the hunt, 
the several dogs were then let loose to seize the bird. For 
a long time they made the attempt in vain 5 for, when 
they came near the devoted victim, she dived under water, 
and eluded their remorseless fangs. Here consisted the 
extreme felicity of the interesting scene. At length some 
dog more expert than the rest, caught the feathered prize 
and bore it away amidst the loudest acclamations to his 
most fortunate and envied master. This diversion was 
held in such high repute about the reign of Charles II. 
that he and many of his prime nobility did not disdain to 
be present, and partake with their dogs of the elegant 
entertainment. In Mrs. Behn's play of ' Sir Patient 
Fancy,' (written at the above period) a Sir Credulous 
£asy talks about a cobler, bis dog-tutor, and his expecta- 
tion of soon becoming the ' Duke of Ducking Pond.' 

" Mountebanks' Stage, — One was erected opposite the 
Three Jolly Butchers' public-house, on the east side of 
the market area, now the King's Arms. Here Wood- 
ward, the inimitable comedian and harlequin, made his 
first appearance as Merry Andrew ; from these humble 
boards he soon afterwards found his way to Co vent Gar- 
den Theatre. 

'* Beheading of Puppets, — In a coal-shed attached to a 
grocer's shop one of these mock executions was exposed 
to the attending crowd. A shutter was fixed horizontally, 
on the edge of which, after many previous ceremonies, 
a puppet laid its head, and another puppet then instantly 



chopped it oflF with an axe. In a circular stair-case win- 
dow at the north end of Sun-court^ a similar performance 
took place by another set of puppets. The condemned 
puppet bowed its head to the sili^ which as above was 
soon decapitated. In these representations the late pu- 
nishment of the Scotch chieftain^ Lord Lovat^ was alluded 
to^ in order to gratify the feelings of southern loyalty at 
the expense of that farther north. 

** Strong Women, — In a fore one-pair room, on the west 
side of Sun-court, a Frenchman submitted to the curious 
the astonishing strength of his wife. A blacksmith's 
anvil being procured from White-horse-street, with three 
of the men, they brought it up and placed it on the floor. 
The woman was short, but most beautifully and delicately 
formed, and of a most lovely countenance. She first let 
down her hair, a light auburn, of a length descending to 
her knees, which she twisted round the projecting part of 
the anvil, and then with seeming ease lifted the ponderous 
weight some inches from the floor. After this a bed was 
laid in the middle of the room,^vhen reclining on her 
back, and uncovering her bosom, the husband ordered 
the smiths to place thereon the anvil, and forge upon it 
a horse-shoe. This they obeyed, by taking from the 
fire a red-hot piece of iron, and with their forging ham- 
mers completing the shoe with the same might and in- 
difference as when in the shop at their constant labour. 
The prostrate fair one appeared to endure this with the 
utmost composure, talking and singing during the whole 
process ; then with an effort, which to the bye-standers 
seemed like some supernatural trial, cast the anvil from 
off her body, jumping up at the same moment with ex- 
treme gaiety, without the least discomposure of her dress 
or person. 

''That no trick or collusion could possibly be practised 


on the occasion ^as obvious from the following evidence. 
The audience stood promiscuously about the rooni^ 
among whom were one family and friends, the smiths 
utter strangers to the Frenchman, but known to us, 
therefore the several efforts of strength must have pro- 
ceeded from the natural and surprising power this foreign 
daine was possessed of. She next put her naked foot on 
a red-hot salamander, without receiving the least injury ; 
but this is a feat familiar to us at this time. 

" Ttddy-DolL — ^The celebrated vendor of gingerbread, 
who, from his eccentricity of character and extensive 
dealings in his way, was always hailed as the king of 
itinerant tradesmen. In his person he was tall, well-made, 
and his features handsome. He affected to dress like 
a person of rank, wearing a white gold-laced suit of 
cloaths, laced ruffled shirt, laced hat and feather, white 
silk stockings, with the addition of a fine white apron. 
Among his harangues to gain customers, take this 
specimen : ' Mary, Mary, where are you now, Mary ? I 
live when at home in the second house in Little Ball- 
street, two steps under ground, with a wiscum, riscum, and 
a why not. Walk in, ladies and gentlemen ^ my shop is 
on the second floor backwards, with a brass knocker at 
the door. Here is your nice gingerbread, your spice gin- 
gerbread 5 it will melt in your mouth like a red'hot brick- 
bat, and tumble in your inside like Punch and his wheel- 
barrow.' This address he ever finished by singing the 
following fragment of some popular ballad 3 

Ti-tid-dy ti-ti, ti-tid-dy, ti-ti, 
Ti-tid -dy, ti-ti, tid-dy did-dy, dol-lol, 
Ti-tid-dy, ti-tid-dy, ti-ti 
Tid-dy tid-dy dol. 

*' Hence the nickname of Tiddy-Dol. In Hogarth's print 
of the execution of the Idle Prentice at Tyburn, Tiddy-Dol 

THfi MONTHS — MAY. 255 

is seen holding up a gingerbread cake with his left hand, 
his right being within his coat, and addressing the mob 
in his usual way, ' Mary, Mary, &c.' His costume agrees 
with the aforesaid description. For many years (and 
perhaps at present) allusions were made to his name ; as 
thus — ^ you are so fine (to a person dressed out of charac- 
ter) you look like Tiddy-doll — ^you are as tawdry as Tiddy- 
doll — ^you are quite Tiddy-doll/ &c. 

" Soon after this. Lord Coventry occupied the house, 
corner of Engine-street,* Piccadilly, (built by Sir Henry 
Hunlocke, Bart., on the site of a large ancient inn, called 
the GreyhoundJi he being annoyed with the unceasing 
uproar night and day during the fair — the whole month 
of May — procured, I know not by what means, the entire 
abolition of this festival of Misrule and disorder. "f 

The last paragraph in Carter's reminiscence forms a 
pretty comment on the maxim " that every man may do 
what he pleases with his own/* and proves that it is confined 
to the possessors of lands and fine houses. The people 
were to be debarred from their amusements — amusements 
that had dated from antiquity — because it suited Lord 
Coventry to take up his abode in their neighbour- 

Various other parts of London seems to have been 
particularly connected with the May-games. Thus Stow, 
when writing of Ealdgate Ward, now called Aldgate Ward, 

* Engine-street still retains its name. It is situated in Piccadilly 
between White-horse-street and Down-street, and leads into Brick- 
street, which latter was, as I have been told, a notorious abode some 
fifty years ago, of thieves and prostitutes ; whence any bad character 
in the neighbourhood was usually styled a Brickaderian, A celebrated 
prize-fighter who, from the small-pox marks in his face, had obtained 
the soubriquet of Crumpbt, was among the notorieties of this street. 

t Gentleman's Magazine, toI. Ixxxvi. p. 228. March, 1816. 


Leadenhall Street, tells us, '* at the north-west corner of 
this ward, in the said high street, standeth the fair and 
beautiful parish church of St. Andrew the Apostle, with 
an addition, to be known from other churches of that 
name, of the knape or undershaft, and so called St. Andrew 
Undershaft, because that of old time every year — on 
Mny-day in the morning — it was used that an high or 
long shaft, or Maypole, was set up there in the midst of 
the street before the south door of the said church. 
Which shaft, when it was set on end, and fixed in the 
ground, was higher than the church-steeple. This shaft 
was not raised since Evil May-day — so called of an in- 
surrection made by prentices and other young persons 
against aliens in the year 1517 — but the said shaft was 
laid along over the doors, and under the pentises of one 
row of houses, and Alley Gate, called after the shaft. 
Shaft Alley.. It was there I say hanged, on iron hooks, 
many years till the third of Ring Edward VI., that one 
Sir Stephen, curate of St. Katharine, Christ Church, 
preaching at Paul's Cross, said there that this shaft was 
made an idol, by naming the church of St. Andrew with 
the addition of under that shaft; he persuaded, therefore, 
that the names of churches might be altered \ also that 
the names of days in the week might be changed, the 
fish -days to be kept any days except Fridays and Satur- 
days ; and the Lent, any time save only betwixt Shrove- 
tide and Easter. I have oft times seen this man, forsak- 
ing the pulpit of his said parish church, preach out of a 
high elm-tree in the midst of the churchyard \ and then 
entering the church, forsaking the altar, to have sung 
his high mass in English upon a tomb of the dead to- 
wards the north. I heard his sermon at PauFs Cross, and 
I saw the effect that followed ; for in the afternoon of 
that present Sunday, the neighbours and tenants of the 


said bridge,'*' over whose doors the said shaft had lain, 
after they had dined, to make theoiselves strong, gathered 
more help, and with great labour raising the shaft from 
the hooks, (wherein it had rested two and thirty years), 
they sawed it in pieces, every man taking for his share so 
much as had lain over his door and stall, the length of 
his house ; and they of the Alley divided amongst them 
so much as had laid over their alley gate. Thus was this 
idol — as he, poor man, termed it — mangled, and after 

burned." t 

Little Drury also was, at one time, celebrated for its 
May-pole. It stood at the north end, and was erected by 
John Clarges, a smith and farrier in the Savoy, to com- 
memorate his daughter's good fortune in having married 
General Monk, at a time when he was only a private gen- 
tleman, and thus after the restoration becoming Duchess 
of Albemarle. J These curious particulars respecting 
the family would, in all probability, have been forgotten, 
with many better things, but for a dispute among them- 
selves, which brought every thing out in a court of jus- 
tice, and left it upon the record. A correspondent in the 
Gentleman's Magazine, gives the following account of it.* 
^' I have in my possession minutes of a trial upon an 
action of trespass between William Sherwin, plaintiff, 
and Sir Walter Clarges, Bart., and others, defendants, at 
the King's Bench Bar, at Westminster, 15th November, 
1700. The plaintiff, as heir and representative of Thomas 
Monk, Esq., elder brother of George, Duke of Albemarle^ 
claimed the manor of Sutton, in co. York, and other 
lands in Newton, Eaton Bridge, and Shipton, as heir-at- 

* That is of RocJiester Bridge, of which, he had before said, it was 
a possession, 
t Stow* 8 London^ by Strype, vol. i. book ii. p. 65. 
t GerUleman*8 Magazine for January 1792, vol. Ixii. p. 18. 


law to the said duke^ against the defendant^ devisee under 
the will of Duke Christopher, his only child, who died in 
1689 ; S.P." (i.e. sine prole, without offspring.) " Upon 
this trial some very curious particulars came out, re- 
specting the family of Anne, wife of George, created 
Duke of Albemarle. It appeared that she was daughter 
of John Clarges, a farrier in the Savoy, and farrier to 
Colonel Monk. In 1632, she was married in the church 
of St. Laurence Pountney, to Thomas Ratford, son of Tho- 
mas Ratford, late a farrier, servant to Prince Charles, and 
resident in the Mews. She had a daughter, who was 
born in 1634, and died in 1638. Her husband and she 
lived at the Three Spanish Gipsies, in the New Exchange, 
and sold wash-balls, powder, gloves, and such things, 
and she taught girls plain work. About 1647, sbie being 
a sempstress to Colonel Monk, used to carry him linen. 
In 1648 her fathei;' and mother died. In 1649 she and 
her husband fell out and parted. But no certificate from 
any parish register appears reciting his burial. In 1 652 
she was married in the church of St. George, Southwark, 
to General George Moni<, and in the following year was 
delivered of a son, Christopher, (afterwards the second 
and last Duke of Albemarle above mentioned), who was 
suckled by Honours Mills, who sold apples, herbs, oisters, 
&c. One of the plaintiff's witnesses swore that ' a little 
before the sickness,' (i.e., the plague), 'Thomas Ratford 
demanded and received of him the sum of twenty shil- 
lings, that his wife saw Ratford again after the sickness, 
(ind a second time after the duke and duchess were dead.* 
A woman swore that she saw him 'the day his wife, then 
called Duchess of Albemarle, was put into her coffin, 
which was after the death of the duke,* her second hus- 
band, who died 3rd January, 1669-70. And a third wit- 
ness swore that he saw Ratford about July, 1660. In 


opposition to this evidence it was alleged that ' all along 
during the lives of Duke George and Duke Christopher 
this matter was never questioned — * that the latter was 
universally received as only son of the former — ^and that 
'this matter had been thrice before tried at the bar of 
the King's Bench^ and the defendant had had three ver- 
dicts.* A witness swore that he owed Ratford five or 
six pounds^ which he had never demanded. And a man> 
who had ' married a cousin of the Duke of Albemarle, 
had been told by his wife that Ratford died five or six 
years before the duke married.* Lord Chief Justice Holt 
told the jury, ' if you are certain that Duke Christopher 
was born while Thomas Ratford was living, you must 
find for the plaintiff. If you believe he was born after 
Ratford was dead, or that nothing appears what became 
of him after Duke George married his wife, you must 
find for the defendant.* A verdict was given for the 
defendant, who was only son to Sir Thomas Clarges, Knt., 
brother to the illustrious duchess in question, was created 
a baronet, October 30th, 1674, and was ancestor to the 
baronets of his name."* 

Another celebrated May-pole was erected in the Strand, 
near Catharine Street, which was first raised in 1661, to 
celebrate the restoration of Charles II. The writer of 
an old pamphlet, published at the time, thus describes it : 
** Let me declare to you the manner in generall of that 
stately cedar erected in the Strand, 134 feet high, com- 
monly called the May-pole, upon the cost of the parishners 
there adjacent, and the gracious consent of his Sacred 
Majesty, with the illustrious prince, the Duke of York. 

** This tree was a most choice and remarkable piece ; 
'twas made below bridge, and brought in two parts up to 
Scotland Yard, near the king's palace, and from thence 
* Gentleman's Magazine fox October, 1793, yol. Ixiii. p. 886. 


it was conveyed, April the 14th, to the Strand, to be 

" It was brought with a streamer flourishing before it, 
drums beating all the way, and other sorts of music j it 
was supposed to be so long that landmen (as carpenters) 
could not possibly raise it ; Prince James, the Duke of 
York, Lord High Admirall of England, commanded twelve 
seamen off aboord to come and officiate the business, 
whereupon they came and brought their cables, pullies> 
and other tacklins, with six great anchors ; after this was 
brought three crowns, bore by three men bare-headed, 
and a streamer displaying all ' the way before them, 
drums beating, and other musick playing 5 numerous 
multitudes of people thronging the streets, with great 
shouts and acclamations all day long. 

" The Maypole then being joyned together, and hoopt 
about with bands of iron, the crown and vane with the 
king's armes richly gilded was placed on the end of it. 
This being done, the trumpets did sound, and in four 
hours' space it was advanced upright, after which being 
established fast in the ground, six drums did beat, and 
the trumpets did sound again, great shouts and acclama- 
tions the people gave, that it did ring throughout all the 
whole Strand -, after that came a Morice dance, finely 
deckt with purple scarfs in their half shirts, with a taber 
and pipe, the ancient musick, and danced round about the 
Maypole 3 after that, danced the rounds of their liberty. 
Upon the top of this famous standard is likewise set up 
a royal purple streamer; about the middle of it is placed 
four crowns more, with the king's arms likewise 3 there 
is also a garland set upon it, of various colours, of delicate 
rich favours, under which is to be placed three great 
lanthorns, to remain for three honours ; that is, one for 
Prince James, Duke of York, Lord High Admirall of 


Englund ; the other for the vice-admirall ; and the third 
for the rear-admiral -, these are to give light in dark 
nights^ and to continue so long as the pole stands^ which 
will be a perpetual honour to seamen. It is placed, as 
near hand as they could guess, in the very same pit where 
the former stood, but far more glorious, bigger and 
higher than ever any one that stood before it -, and the 
seamen themselves do confess that it could not be built 
higher, nor there is not such a one in Europe beside, 
which highly doth please his Majesty, and the illustrious 
Prince, Duke of York. Little children did much rejoice, 
and antient people did clap their hands, saying, golden 
dayes began to appear. I question not but *twill ring 
like melodious musicke throughout every county in Eng- 
land when they read this story, being exactly pen'd."* 

How or when the chimney-sweepers contrived to in- 
trude their sooty persons into the company of the gay 
and graceful Flora upon her high festival is more than I 
am able to tell -, but that they form the most conspicu- 
ous portion of a May-day festival must be familiar to 
every one. Perhaps I should rather speak of this in the 
past tense, for though the custom still maintains a linger- 
ing existence, it will probably be numbered in a few years 
amongst the things that have been. A time therefore may 
come when a slight record of it will be read with curi- 

The festival lasts three days, when the chimney-sweep- 
ers' apprentices assemble in parties, the number of each 
varying from six to twenty or more according to circum- 
stances, and generally accompanied by a drum. All how- 
ever have certain common characteristics. First, there is 

* T?ie Cities Loyalty Diplayed^ 4to. London, 1661, p. 4. It is a 
thin pamphlet, of five pages onl/, and though exceedingly scarce, is to 
be found in the British Museum, under the head London, 


the Jack in the Green^ a large hollow cone of hoops or 
basket-work^ about six feet higb^ and sometimes more, so 
completely covered with ivy, holly, flowers, and ribbons, 
that the person carrying it is altogether hidden except his 
feet ; I have little doubt that this is nothing else than the 
old triangular garland, which we so often find suspended 
upon the May-pole, only fallen, Darius-like, *'from its 
high estate,*' and now become loco-motive upon the 
ground. Next comes the Lord of the May, always the 
tallest of the apprentices, his face half washed, and 
whole painted, or daubed rather with Dutch pink ; he has 
on a cocked hat, fringed with red or yellow feathers ; his 
coat is of a mongrel breed or fashion, being like a livery, 
like a military coat, like a court-dress, and yet having a 
distinct character of its own 5 and in v the breast of this 
he sticks a mighty nosegay ; his waistcoat is glorious 
with much lace ; his frill is of most unusual magnitude ; 
his breeks — many thanks to the Scotch for so decorous 
a word — his breeks are satin with paste knee-buckles 5 
his stockings are of silk with figured clocks 3 his feet, 
seldom of very small dimensions, are cased in dancing- 
pumps, wherein he wears immense buckles : to his well- 
powdered hair is appended a bag with a rosette ; in his right 
hand he carries a cane or stick with refulgent metal-knob, 
his sceptre, " the attribute to awe and majesty ;'' and in 
his left he has a handkerchief — at one time white, though 
now of a dingy yellow — which he holds in a rather ni- 
mini pimini way by the corner. Next comes the Lady 
of the May, sometimes personated by a strapping dam- 
sel, but more frequently by a young sooterkin in female 
attire, as fine as he or she can possibly be made by the 
help of foil, ribbons, and flowers 5 if Flora was really the 
doubtful character that some have pamted her, the ap- 
pearance of her representative could not have been in 


better keeping ; in her right hand she bears a brass ]adle ; 
aud in her left^ the usual emblem of gentility^ a dirty 
pocket-handkerchief. Sometimes too there is a clown in 
the regular costume of modern pantomime^ but this, I 
fear, must be considered as a very illegitimate practice. 
All the rest are more or less gaily equipped ; sometimes 
their heads are garlanded with flowers, and, when this is 
not the case, their hats are profusely ornamented with 
foil and coloured papers ; so too their jackets, while their 
grimy legs, and no less grimy faces, are daubed very artisti- 
cally with Dutch pink, mixed with stripes or patches of 
white chalk, and the same sort of decoration is extended 
even to their shovels. 

In this guise they parade the streets, when suddenly they 
stop^ Jack in the Green begins to dance^ my lord and lady 
caper likewise, and the younger sooterkins follow the ex- 
ample, to the music of their little wooden shovels, on 
which they keep up a rapping with their brushes. The 
dance being ended, the two principals respectively bow 
and courtesy to each other with the greatest politeness, 
and a general attack is commenced upon the liberality of 
the spectators. My Lord, hat in hand, bows graciously 
to any window from which he can catch the glimpse of a 
curious face ; my Lady presents her ladle to them ; and 
the subordinate fry of sooterkins hold up their shovels in 
a manner not to be mistaken. Sometimes a very fair day's 
work is done in this manner ; but the masters are rapa- 
cious enough to claim for themselves the lion's share of 
all that is thus obtained, the entire receipt of the two first 
holydays being in most cases their allotted portion. 

Throughout the different counties there has prevailed a 
considerable variety in the celebration of the May-games, 
although always the same in spirit and intention. In 
Cornwall they are called the Furry, a word variously de- 


rived from Flora — from the old Cornish t^rm tfer, a fair or 
jubilee — and from the root of the Greek verb ibtpta, because 
on that day the people carry flowers. The second de- 
rivation which emanated from Polwhele/ is not alone the 
most plausible, but the only one of the three that carries 
with it a shadow of reason. 

At Helston this festival takes place on the 8th, when 
the season is ushered in with drums, kettles, and other 
music, as accompaniments to the Furry Song, which how- 
ever is so full of modern allusions as to be hardly worth 
repeating. The observance of the holy-day is so strictly 
insisted upon by the natives that if any one be found at 
work he is instantly seized, set astride on a pole, hurried 
off on men's shoulders to the river, and compelled to leap 
over it at a place especially chosen for its width, and thus 
affording the culprit a fair chance of a good ducking. 
He is, however, allowed to compound for the leap if he 
pleases. " About nine o'clock the revellers appear before 
the grammar-school, and demand a holiday for the school- 
boys, after which they collect from house to house more 
money than is now-a-day collected on a brief from the 
Tweed to the Land's End. They then fade into the 
country— /<wfe being an old English word for go, — and 
about the middle of the day return with flowers and oak- 
branches in their hats and caps, from which till the dusk 
they dance hand in hand through the streets to the sound 
of the fiddle, playing a particular tune -, and thread the 
houses as they list, claiming a right to go through any 
person's house, in at one door, and out at the other. In 
the afternoon the ladies and gentlemen used to visit some 
farm-house in the neighbourhood, whence, having regaled 
themselves with syllabubs they returned, after the fashion 
of the vulgar, dancing as briskly the fade-dance, and en« 

* History qf Cornwall, vol. i. p. 41, 4to. Falmouth, 1803. 


tering the houses as unceremoniously. At present a select 
party only make their progress through the street very 
late in the evening, when they quickly vanish from the 
view, reappearing in the ball-room."* 

A correspondent of Hone's gives a somewhat different 
-necount of the Cornish festivities on this occasion. — " It 
is/' he says/' an annual custom on May-eve for a number 
of young men and women to assemble at a public-hous e 
and sit up till the clock strikes twelve, when they go 
round the town with violins, drums, and other instru- 
ments, and by sound of music call upon others who had 
previously settled to join them. As soon as the party is 
formed, they proceed to different farm-houses, within four 
or five miles of the neighbourhood, where they are ex- 
pected as regularly as May morning comes ; and they 
there partake of a beverage called junket, made of raw 
milk and rennet, ov running, 9l% it is there called, sweetened 
with sugar and a little cream added. After this they take 
tea and heavy country cake, composed of flour, cream, 
sugar, and currants ; next, rum and milk ; and then a 
dance. After thus regaling, they gather the May. While 
some are breaking down the boughs, others sit and make 
the May-music, This is done by cutting a circle through 
the bark at certain distances from the bottom of the May 
branches ; then by gently and regularly tapping the bark 
all round, from the cut circle to the end, the bark be- 
comes loosened, and slips away whole from the wood, and 
a hole being cut in the pipe it is easily formed to emit a 
sound when blown through and becomes a whistle. t The 
gathering and the May-music being finished they then 

« Polwhele's History qf Cornwall^ vol. i. p. 42. 

+ This bark- whistle, so laboriously described by Hone*s correspo n 
dent, must, I should think, be familiar to every school-boy. It is 
usually made from willow. 

VOL. I., N 


bring home the May by five or six o'clock in the morning, 
with the band playing, and their whistles blowing. After 
dancing through the town they go to their respective em- 
ployments. Although May-day should fall on a Sunday, 
they observe the same practice in all respects, with the 
omission of dancing in the town.* 

On the first Sunday after May-day it is a custom with 
families at Penzance to visit Rose-hill, Poltier, and other 
adjacent villages by way of recreation. These pleasure - 
parties usually consist of two or three families together. 
They carry flour and other materials with them to make 
the heavy-cake, just described, at the pleasant farm-dairies, 

* In regard to the celebration of May- day though it fell upon a 
Sunday, tuch also was the custom in the time of James the First, the 
king only stipulating that the games should not be during the hours of 
divine service, and — which does not seem quite so reasonable — that 
no one should participate in them who had not been to church. In 
all other respects his view of the matter affords so excellent a lesson 
and rebuke to the bigots of our own time that I can not forbear giving 
a brief extract from it. ** This prohibition barreth the common and 
meaner sort from using such exercises as may make their bodies more 
able for warre, when wee or our. successors shall have occasion to use 
them. And in place thereof sets up filthy tiplings and drunkennesse, 
and breeds a number of idle and discontented speeches in their ale- 
houses. For when shall the common people have leave to exercise if 
not upon the Sundayes and holydaies, seeing they must apply their 
labour and win their living in all working daies ? " 

The king then goes on to say '< our pleasure is that after divine 
service our good people be not disturbed, letted, or discouraged 
from any lawful recreatiou, such as dancing, either men or women ; 
archery for men, leaping, vaulting, or any other such harmlesse re- 
creation, nor from having of Maygames, Whitson-Ales, and Morris- 
dances, and the setting up of Maypoles. . . . And that women shall 
have leave to carry rushes to the church for the decoring of it, ac- 
cording to the old custome." The Kimo*8 Dsclabation concbrnino 
LAWFUL SpuRT;}. Loudon, 1633. 


which are always open for their reception. '' Nor do they 
forget to take tea, sugar, rum, and other comfortable 
things for their refreshment, which by paying a trifle for 
baking, and for the niceties awaiting their consumption, 
contents the farmers for the house-room and pleasure 
they afford their welcome visitants. Here the young 
ones find delicious ^un^^^f, with sour milk, cut in diamonds, 
which is eaten with sugar and cream. New-made cake, 
refreshing tea and exhilirating punch satisfy the stomach, 
cheer the spirits, and assist the walk home in the evening. 
These pleasure-takings are never made before May-day ; 
but the first Sunday that succeeds it, and the leisure of 
every other afternoon is open to the frugal enjoyment ; 
and among neighbourly families and kind friends the en- 
joyment is frequent."* 

Inventio Crucis ; HoLY-RooD Day; Holy-Cross 
Day, — May 3d. — This day takes its first name, Inventio 
Crucis, i. e. Discovery of the Cross, from its being the 
anniversary of the finding of the real cross by Saint 
Helena, the naother of Constantine the Great. Accord- 
ing to the legend, told by Ambrosius, Theodoretus, and 
other veracious historians of the church, the good lady in 
326 took it into her head to make a pilgrimage to Pales- 
tine, she being then very near eighty years of age.f Her 
first visit is to Golgotha, when she is seized with a fancy 
— Ambrosius calls it a cUvine inspiration — for seeing the 

* This lameljr-written account, which might have come from the 
pen of a school-boj, occurs in Hone's Every Day Book, toI. i.p. 561 ; 
but indeed Hone and his contributors generally wrote in the most 
childish style that can be imagined. I have given it for the sake of 
the facts which are sufficiently interesting. 

+ Upo ydp dXiya Trie TeXtvrijc ri^v dTroStjulav ravrrjv krroiiitraTO 
dyiofiKOVTHTie dk rd Tspfia th pia iccrr(i\i70ci/. B. Theodoreti 
Eceleauu, HiaU lib. 1. cap. xvii. p. 794. torn. iii» tivo. Halee, 17/1. 

N 2 



true cross, and is exceedingly wrath with the devil for 
having hid it; for it seems he had put it into the head of his 
heathen friends to huild a temple to Venus on the ground 
where Christ was buried, and to erect a statue to Jupiter 
on the place of his resurrection. All this was sufficiently 
provoking to an empress who was not used to be thwarted 
in any of her fancies; "here," says the pious pilgrim, 
" is the battle-ground, but where is the victory ? I seek 
the standard of salvation, but find it not; shall I sit in 
royalty, and the cross of the Lord in dust ? shall I 
dwell in gilded palaces, and the triumph of Christ is in 
ruins ? I see what you have been doing, Satan, that 
the sword which smote you might be hidden."* But 
how was the sable gentleman to be defeated ? Eusebius 
says that she was helped out of this difficulty by a 
vision, a resource common to poets and ecclesiastical 
historians ; but other authorities more modestly state 
that she had recourse to a council of old women — male 
as well as female — of Jerusalem, who agreed that if she 
could discover the sepulchre she would be sure to find also 
the instruments of punishment, it being always the custom 
among the Jews to make a great hole near the place 
where the body of any criminal was buried, and to throw 
into it whatever belonged to the execution, for they held 
such objects too detestable to be kept in sight. Thus 
advised, she ordered the fane to be pulled down, and was 
rewarded for her pious zeal by finding three crosses, the 

* '* Accessit ad Golgotha, et ait ; ' ecce locus pugnae, ubi eat Tictoria ? 
quaero vexillum salutis, et non invenio. Ego/ inquit, * in regnis, et 
crux Domini in pulvere ? ego in aureis, et in ruinis Christi trium- 
phu8 ? . . . . Video quid egeris, diaboie, ut gladius quo peremtus es, 
obstrueretur.' " Sancti Amhrom Opera, torn. vii. p. 38, sect. 43 and 
44. — De Obitu 7keodo8ii Oratio, I am sorry to be forced to add 
that Erasmus declares this amusing oration is spurious. 


nails employed in the crucifixion, and the title, or label, 
which had once been affixed to the real cross. But now 
came another difficulty ; the title having been separated 
by decay or accident, how was she to distinguish the 
cross of Christ from those of the two thieves? This 
would have puzzled most people^ but it did not puzzle 
the inspired bishop^ Maearius, who on being consulted 
recommended that all three should be taken to a lady of 
rank then lying ill^ and their powers severally tested in 
her cure. Two were tried without eflFect, but tlie third 
restored the patient to perfect healthy and was conse- 
quently pronounced to be the genuine. Great, hereupon, 
was the delight of the poor old empress. Part of the 
nails she manufactured into a helmet for her son, as a 
sure guard against hostile weapons, part she did into his 
horse's bridle, both for his soul's health and in fulfilment 
of the oracle of Zechariah.* Another portion she des- 
tined for the palace, and the rest she enclosed in a silver 
case made especially for the purpose, and presented to 
the bishop as a memorial for posterity. In conclusion — 
without which all the rest would have gone for nothing 
with the pious — she built a splendid church upon the 
ruins of the heathen temple.f 

Holy Rood Day, the name sometimes given to the 
third of May, fakes its rise from the same circumstance, 
the rood, as Fuller informs us^ being an image of Christ 
on the cross, made generally of wood, and erected in a 

• Zechariah, chap. xiv. v. 20. 

t TTieodoreti Ecclesiastica Historian lib. i. cap. xvii. I presume 
it is from the same source that the Rev. Alban Butler has drawn the 
account given by him in his Lives of the Fathers, (vol. vi. p. 45,) 
but he has omitted all mention of the talismanic helmet — why, I can 
not imagine, that little incident being so exceedingly characteristic of 
the good empress. 


loft for that purpose, just over the passage out of the 
church into the chancel.*** 

The next day of importance in this month is the 8th — 
the Apparition of St. Michael — held sacred by the 
Catholics on account of the three apparitions, or appear- 
ances, of St. Michael. The first was on Mount Garganus, 
now called Mount St. Angelo, a lofty hUl and promontory 
of Apulia, which advances into the Adriatic Sea. A 
herdsman, having lost his ox, and after a long search 
finding it in the mouth of a cavern, flung a dart at the 
animal, when the weapon rebounded u[»on him and 
wounded him. Terrified at this miracle, he consulted his 
bishop, who ordered a three days' fast, and the latter, being 
afterwards visited by St. Michael in person, was informed 
by him that he had wounded the herdsman by way of 
letting them know that he was the patron-saint of the 

A second apparition was when the Neapolitans, who 
were then Pagans, waged war against the Christian people 
of Sipentum, a city of Apulia. In this case also the then 
bishop ordained a three days* fast, the usual episcopal 
panacea for all evils, and commanded moreover that the 
people should pray to Saint Michael for assistance.. They 
of course obeyed these injunctions, and in the night- time 
the bishop was rewarded for his advice by a familiar visit 
from St. Michael, with a promise that his flock should 
have the victory. Most faithfully, too, did the saint keep 
his word, for the next day, when the opposing armies met. 
Mount Garganus was shaken with repeated thunders, the 
air was darkened, and the heathens, terrified out of their 
wits by these prodigies, Hed as fast as they could to 

* History qf Waltham Abbey, p. 16. — See his works, folio. Lond. 
1655. Ad finem. 


A third appearance was at Rome in the time of Gregory 
the Great. The pontiff was praying against a pestilence, 
when he saw an angel upon the mount of Adrian^ with a 
bloody sword in his hand, which he then sheathed, whence 
the supplicant inferred that his prayers had been granted, 
and in consequence he built a chapel on the spot in honour 
of all the angels.* There would, however, seem to be 
some little difficulty in understanding why the day should 
be particularly dedicated to St. Michael, a difficulty which 
Durandus endeavours to get over by many ingenious ar- 
guments, his principal one being that St. Michael was the 
guardian of Paradise,t and therefore more especially en- 
titled to such an honour. 

Rogation Sunday. The fifth Sunday after Easter. It 
took its name from preceding the Rogation Days, that is the 
three days before Holy Thursday, Rogation being a term 
generally used to denote processional supplications ; the 
reason of the word being more specifically applied to the 
days in question was this : — About the year 550, the city of 
Vienne, (in Dauphin^,) was much troubled with earth- 
quakes and the irruption of wild beasts, whereupon 
Mamertus, the bishop of the diocese, obtained permis- 
sion from the senate to ordain processional supplications 
on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, before the As- 

* Ho8jnnian De Festis Christ, fol. 85. 

f Durandi Rat, Divin. Qffic, lib. vii. cap. 12. 

X *' Dum civitas Viennensium crebro teme motu subrueretur et 
bestiarium desolaretur incursu, sanctus Mamertus, ejus civitatis epis- 
copus, eas dicitur pro malls quae pnemissimus ordinasse." Wallifred^ 
StraL c. 28. d. De Rebus Ecclesiast, I give the passage, as quoted 
by Bourne, having only taken the liberty of reading dioitur for legitur, 
a manifest misprint, which as a matter of course, Sir Henrj Ellis, 
who quotes from him, has retained, with the addition — also of course — 
of another typographical blunder — De Rbp. Ecclesiast. See also Shep- 


It 13 not easy to say when or how these rogations 
became mixed up with the parochial perambulations, but 
there cannot be the least doubt that the latter have been 
derived to us from the times of the Romans. It is only 
a Christian form of the Terminaliay established by Nuraa 
Pompilius^ in honour of the God TerminuSy the guardian 
of fields and landmarks^ and maintainer of peace amongst 

Even the Reformation did not sweep away this useful 
custom ', it only modified the observance 3 and we find 
Elizabeth ordering that " the curate, at certain and con- 
venient places, shall admonish the people to give thanks 
in the beholding God's benefits^ for the increase and abun- 
dance of his fruits upon the face of the earth, with the 
saying of the 103d psalm, at which time the minister 
shall inculcate these, or such sentences — ' cursed be 
he which translateth the bounds and dolesf of his neigh- 
bours.' '*{ 

The week, in which these days fell, was also called 

herd*8 *' Elucidation qf Common Prayer^" vol. ii. p. 127, who, how- 
ever, in the earlier edition of his work mistook this ^' ci vitas Vien. 
nensium," for Vienna, the capital of Austria. In the second edition 
of vol. ii, the error is corrected. 

* Spelman, in his Glossary under the head Perambulatio, says, 
" refert Plutarchus in Problem xiii. Numam Pompilium cum finitimis 
agri terminis constituisse et in ipsis finibus Terminttm, Deum, quasi 
finium praesidem amicitieeque ac pacis custodem posuisse. Hinc festa 
ei dicata quae Terminalia nuncupantur, quorum vice nos quotannis 
ex vetustissim^ consuetudine parochiarum terminos lustramus, — Sax- 
onibus ganadagaSy hodiernis processiones et Rogationes appellatas. 

f Dole means a boundary-stone. Todd derives it from the Saxon 
dcelan, to divide ; but I should rather fancy it was the Celtic dot, a 
stone, which we find in the compound word dolman, i.e. the Stone of 
the Men, another name for the cromlech. 

t Bourne* 8 Antig, vol. i. p. 207. 


Cross-week, '' because in ancient tiiues^ when the priests 
went into the fields^ the cross was carried before them."* 
In the north it was^ and I believe still is^ called gang-week, 
from the provincial word gang, a descendant from the 
Anglo-Saxon gang-days already noticed. Lastly, it was 
termed Grass-week, in some of the inns of court, be- 
cause the commons then consisted mostly of sallads and 
green vegetables. 

There is a superstitious observance appertaining to 
this week peculiar to Kent, but which I believe may be 
found, with modifications, in Devonshire also. Hasted, 
who sometimes condescended to relieve his antiquarian 
details by scraps of this kind, informs us " there is an 
odd custom used in these parts, about Keston and Wick- 
ham, in Rogation week -, at which time a number of 
young men meet together for the purpose, and with a 
most hideous noise run into the orchards, and incircling 
each tree, pronounce these words : 

Stand fast root, bear well top, 
God send us a youling-\' sop ! 
Every twig, apple big ; 
Every bough, apple enow. 

For which incantation the confused rabble expect a gra- 
tuity in money, or drink, which is no less welcome. But 
if they are disappointed of both, they with great so- 
lemnity anathematize the owners and trees with alto- 
gether as insignificant a curse. It seems highly {Jrobable 
that this custom has arisen from the ancient one of per- 
ambulation among the heathens, when they made their 

* Boume*8 AnHq. Vulg, p. 285, note. 

+ I hardly know whether it may be necessary to explain to any 
one that this yotding^ or yuling sop is an allusion to the roasted crab, 
apple, which is put into the wassail bowl at Christmas, the ale thus 
prepared forming the well-known drink called lambs-wool. 


prayers to the Gods for the use and blessing of the fruits 
coming up^ with thanksgivings for those of the preceding 
year. And as the heathens supplicated uSolus, God of 
the winds, for his favourable blasts ; so in this custom, 
they still retain his name wfth a very small variation, this 
ceremony being called youling, and the word is often used 
in their invocations/'* 

I doubt much however the word youling having 
any thing to do with the God ^olus. It is derived, 
in my opinion^ from the Indian hufy, a spring festival ; 
for though in more modern times Yulb has been 
restricted to mean a Christmas feast, yet with the 
Druids it was also applied to those that were cele- 
brated in the month of May. We shall find, too, that 
the word, under various modifications of the original 
root, runs through the Gothic, Danish, Welsh, and other 
languages, and always more or less distinctly signify- 
ing a rejoicing or festivai-making This is clearly its 
meaning amongst the people of Kent in the ceremony 
just described. 

Ascension Eve. This, though not noticed amongst Pro- 
testants, is held by the more rigid Catholics to be a par- 
ticular occasion for alms-giving, for, as Durandus tells 
us,t the previous fasts are of no avail without works of 
charity j " if," says he, quoting St. Gregory, " you wish 
your prayer to rise to Heaven, you must lend it two 
wings — ^fasting and alms-giving." 

* Hasted's History qf Kenty vol. i. p. 109. 

+ '' Quia vero jejunium quo praBmisBum est non sufScitsine operibus 
misericordiee, ideo in vigilid, Ascensionis, quas est tertia dies rogati- 
onum, eoelesia monet ad opera misericordiae. . . . Dicit enim Gregor. 
' Si vis orationem tuam ad CKium volare, fac ei duas alaa, scilicet je- 
junium et eleemosynam. * " Gul, Durandif Rat. IHv, Ojffic. lib. vi. 
cap. ciii. p. 260. 


Ascrnsion-Day, or Holy Thursday. This, as the 
name sufRcieady implies, is the anniversary of Christ's 
Ascension, but there is no peculiar mention of this festi- 
val amongst the elder writers on such subjects. It is 
celebrated on the fortieth day after the passover, because 
Christ ascended into Heaven on the fortieth day after his 
resurrection.'*' A few trifling observances still cling to it 
in some parts, the relicks of our forefathers* superstitions. 
Thus we are told by a writer in the Gentleman's Maga- 
zine, when speaking of superstitions prevalent in the 
neighbourhood of Exeter, ''that the figure of a lamb 
actually appears in the east on the morning of Ascension- 
Day is the popular persuasion. And so deeply is it rooted 
that it hath frequently resisted (even in intelligent minds) 
the force of the strongest argument.* *t 

Reginald Scot also mentions two superstitions as con- 
nected with this day, but without localizing them — *' in 
some countries,** he says, " they run out of the doors in 
time *of tempest, blessing themselves with a cheese^ 
whereupon there was a cross made with a rope's end upon 
Ascension-Day — Item, to hang an ^gg, laid on Ascension- 
Day in the roof of the house preserveth the same from 
all hurts." J 

In conclusion it should not be forgotten that the cus- 
tom of parochial perambulations has amongst us been 
chiefly confined to this day ^ but such deviations from the 
original observance are too common to excite the least 

* " Apud ▼etustiores authores festi Ascennonis Christi peculiaris 
mentio nulla fit, sed comprehendunt illud sub Quinquaginta illis 
festis diebus post PaAcha.** Hospinian De FesHs ChrisHanorum, 
p. 86. 

+ Gentleman's Magazine, for August 1787, vol. Ivii. p. 718, note. 

t The Discovery qf Wiichcrqft by Reginald Scot, p. 152, folio 
Lond. 1665. 


Pentecost : Whitsuntide, This term was anciently used 
with two very different meanings ; first, as denoting the 
whole fifty days from Easter to Whitsuntide, i,e, the Pas- 
chal solemnity, which in early times was one continued 
festival in commemoration of Christ's resurrection ; and 
secondly, as signifying that particular day on which the 
Holy Ghost descended upon the apostles. In this more 
restricted sense it was called Pentecost because it was 
the fiftieth day from the Passover; and Whitsunday, i.e, 
White-Sunday, either metaphorically from the light which 
then diffused itself amongst the apostles ; or, — and this 
seems more probable — from its being one of the two 
principal seasons of public baptism, when the baptized 
wore white garments, or chrisoms, in token of the spi- 
ritual purity they received at the font, and their pro- 
mised whiteness of life for the future. It must not, how- 
ever be concealed that Wheatley mentions a curious letter 
of Gerard Langbain's upon this subject, giving a very 
different meaning to the word. From his account it would 
seem, that Langbain, who was a perfect glutton of Bod- 
leian manuscripts, stumbled upon one, which in substance 
states, " that it was a custom among our ancestors upon 
this day to give all the milk of their ewes and kine to 
the poor for the love of God, in order to qualify them- 
selves to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which milk 
being then — as it is still in some counties, — called White- 
meat, &c. therefore this day from that custom took the 
name of Whitsunday.*'* 

* Wheatley's account is as follows — *' The letter I have is in manu- 
script, but seems to be a transcript of a printed letter of Langbain, 
dated from Oxford on Whitsun-Eve, 1650, and writ in answer to a 
friend that had enquired of him the original of the word, Whitsun- 
tide, in which after he had hinted at some other opinions he gives the 
above-mentioned account in the following words. — '* Extat illic (in 
Bodleian^) MS. hoc titulo, De Solemmtatibua Sanctorum Feriandia. 


This day also, like those immediately preceding it, had 
its peculiar superstition. Amongst other things it was 
believed that whatever was asked of Heaven on Whit- 
sunday would be infallibly granted, a notable instance of 
which we have in the Echo of a certain fanatic,* who 
called himself Arise Evans, and who tells us, '' hearing 
some say that whatsoever one did ask of God upon Whit- 
sunday morning at the instant when the sun arose and 
play'd, God would grant it him ; having a charitable 
beliefe of the report, being willing to try all the ways 
possible to obtain my petition, I arose betimes on Whit- 
sunday morning, and went up a hill, at a place called 
Gole Ronnw, to see the sun arise — Gole Ronnw in £ng- 

Author est anonymus, qui de Festo Pentecostes agens hoc habet : 
'Judffii quatuor praecipua celebrant solemnia; Pascha, Pentecosten, 
Scenopegiam, Enceenia. Nos autem duo de illis celebramus, Pascha et 
Pentecosten, sed alia ratione. lUi celebrant Pentecosten, quia tunc 
legem perceperunt ; nos autem ideo, quia tunc Spiritus Sanctus missus 
est discipuiis. lUi suscepeni^t tabulis lapldeis extrinsecus scripta, ad 
designandam eorum duritiem, quoniam usque ad spiritualem Intel- 
lectum literee non pertingebant ; sed Spiritus Sanctus datus est 
sexaginta duobus discipuiis in corde, digito Dei spiritualem intellectum 
intus dedicante. Ideoque Dies intellectus dicitur Witsonenday, vel 
item Viteonendaj ; quia praedecessores nostri omne lac ovium et 
yaccarum suarum solebant dare pauperibus illo die, pro Dei amore, 
ut puriores efficirentur ad recipiendum Donum Spiritus Sancti.' — 
Quocum, fere ad yerbum, consentit manuscriptus alter hoc titulo 
Docirina guomodo Curatvs possit sanctorum vitas per annum populo 
denunciare. Et certe quod de lacte yaccarum refert, illud percog- 
nituiA habeo, in agro Hamptoniensi (an et alibi nescio) decimas lacti- 
ciniorum venire yulgo sub hoc nomine, The Whites of Kine; apud 
Lelcestrenses etiam Lacticinia vulgariter dicuntur Whitemeat,*'' — 
Wheatley's Rational Illustration of Common Prayer, p. 241, Folio^ 
Lond. 1720. 

* An Echo to the voice from Heaven^ or a narration of the life 
and manner of the special calling and visions of Arise Evans. 12mo. 
Blackfriars, 1652, p. 9. 


lish is, they will give light — and seeing the sun at its 
rising skip, play, dance, and turn about like a wheel, I 
fell down upon my knees." 

At this particular season were used to be celebrated 
the so-called WTiitsun-ales. Of the meaning and deriv- 
ation of this word I shall speak presently ; the sport, or 
feast is thus described by Rudder.* *' Two persons are 
chosen previous to the meeting, to be lord and lady of 
the yule f who dress as suitably as they can to the cha- 
racters they assume. A large empty barn, or some such 
building, is provided for the lord's hall, and 6tted up with 
seats to accommodate the company. Here they as- 
semble to dance and to regale in the best manner their 
circumstances and the place will afford, and each young 
fellow treats his girl with a ribband or favour. The lord 
and lady honour the hall with their presence, attended 
by the steward, sword bearer, purse-bearer, and mace- 
bearer, with their several badges or ensigns of office. 
They have likewise a page, or train-bearer, and a jester 
drest in a party-coloured jacket, whose ribaldry and ges- 
ticulation contribute not a little to the entertainment of 
some part of the company. The lord's music, consisting 
generally of a pipe and tabor is employed to conduct the 
dance. All these figures, handsomely represented in 
basso-relievo, stand in the north wall of the nave of 
Cirencester church, which vouches sufficiently for the 
antiquity of the custom. Some people think it a com- 
memoration of the ancient drink-lean, a day of festivity 
formerly observed by the tenants and vassals of the lord 
of the fee within his manor, the memory of which, on 

• History of Gloucestershire^ p. 23. Folio, Cirencester. 1779. 

+ Yule^ i.e. the festiyal. This affords a sufScient proof of what I 
have stated above, — that the word, yuht was net originally restricted 
to Christmas, but meant a festival generally. 


account of the jollity of those meetings, the people have 
thus preserved ever since. It may notwithstanding have 
its rise in Druidism,* as on these occasions they always 
erect a May-pole> which is an eminent sign of it. I 
shall just remark that the mace is made of silk finely 
plaited with ribbands on the top^ and filled with spices 
and perfume for such of the company to smell to as 
desire it. Does not this afford some light towards dis- 
covering the original use^ and account for the name of 
the mace, now carried in ostentation before the steward 
of the court on court days, and before the chief magis- 
trate in corporations 3 as the presenting of spices by 
great men at their entertainments was a very ancient 

From what Aubrey says, these Whitsun-ales supplied 
the place of poor-rates, which did not exist at all in his 
time ', but indeed there is something so delightful in his 
picture of the general happiness of the lower classes in the 
age immediately preceding his own — mixed up, it must 
be owned, with more questionable matters,-^that I can 
not resist the temptation of transcribing it : ''No younger 
brothers then were by the custom and constitution of the 
realm to betake themselves to trades, but were church- 
men or retainers, and servants to great men, rid good 
horses, now and then took a purse, and their blood, that 
was bred of the good tables of their masters, was upon 
every occasion freely let out in their quarrels 5 it was then 
too common among their masters to have feuds with one 
another ; and their servants at market, or where they met 

* May ! — unquestionably it had. It would be hard indeed to find 
any popular festival that did not spring from some ancient religious 
observance, and Druidism being the earliest known form of religion 
in England) to what other source can we refer them ? That Druidism 
itself was borrowed from the east is another matter. 


in that slashings age, did commonly bang one another's 
bucklers. Then an esquire when he rode to town, was 
attended by eight or ten men in blue coats with badges. 
The lords — then lords in deed as well as title — lived in 
their countries like petty kings, — had jura regalia belong- 
ing to their seignories, had their castle and boroughs, 
and sent burgesses to the Lower House; had gallows 
within their liberties, where they could try, condemn, 
draw and hang ; never went to London but in parliament- 
time, or once a year to do their homage and duty to the 
king. The lords of manors kept good houses in their 
countries, did eat in their Gothick halls at the high table — 
in Scotland still the architecture of a lord's house is thus, 
viz. a great open hall, a kitchen and buttery, a pt^rlour, 
over which a chamber for my lord and lady ; all the rest 
lye in common, viz. the men-servants in the hall, the 
women in a common room, or oriele, the folk at the side 
tables — oriele is an ear, but here it signifies a little room 
at the upper end of the hall, where stands a square or 
round table, perhaps in the old times was an oratory -, in 
every old Gothick hall is one. The meat was served up 
by watch-words. Jacks are but an invention of the other 
age ; the poor boys did turn the spits, and licked the 
dripping-pan, and grew to be huge, lusty knaves. The 
beds of the servants and retainers were in the great halls, 
as now in the guard-chamber, &c. The hearth was com- 
monly in the middle, as at most colleges, whence the 
saying. Round about our Coal-fire. Here in the halls were 
the mummings, cob-loaf stealing, and great number of 
old Christmas plays performed. Every baron and gentle- 
man of estate kept great horses for a man at arms. 
Lords had their armories to furnish some hundreds of 
men. The halls of justices of the peace were dreadful 
to behold ; the skreens were garnish'd with corslets and 


helmets gaping with open mouth, with coats of mail^ 
lances, pikes, halberts, brown bills, batterdashers, bucklers, 
and the modern calivers and petronils (in King Charles the 
First's time) turned into muskets and pistols. Then were 
entails in fashion, a good prop for monarchy. Destroy- 
ing of manours began temp. Henry VIII. but now 
common ; whereby the mean people live lawless, nobody 
to govern them, they care for no body, having no depend- 
ance on any body. By this method, and by the selling of 
the church lands, is the ballance of the government quite 
altered and put into the hands of the common people. 
No ale-houses, nor yet inns, were there then, unless upon 
great roads. When they had a mind to drink they went 
to the fryaries ; and when they travell'd, they had enter- 
tainment at the religious houses for three days, if occasion 
so long required. The meeting of the gentry was not then 
at tipling houses, but in the fields or forests, with their 
hawks and hounds, with their bugle-horns in silken bor- 
dries.* This part (north of Wiltshire) very much abound- 
ed with forests and parks. Thus were good spirits kept 
up, and good horses and hides made ; whereas now the 
gentry of the nation are so effeminated by coaches, they 
are so far from managing great horses, that they know 
not how to ride hunting-horses, besides the spoiling of 
several trades dependant. In the last age every yeoman 
almost kept a sparrow-hawk; and it was a divertisement 
for young gentlewomen to manage sparrow-hawks and 

*' In King Henry the Eighth's time one Dame Julianf 

* Borderies^ i.e. baldricks, or girdles ; but I do not remember 
haying ever met with the word so spelt before. 

f This, I presume, alludes to a work by Juliana Berners, or Barnes, 
prioress of Sopwell, near St Albans. If so, Aubrey is not quite cor- 
rect in his account of it, for it is only the portion, called the Gestys 


writ the art of hawking which is in English verse, which 
is in Wilton lihrary. This country was then a lovely 
champain, as that about Sheeston and Cots- wold $ very 
few enclosures unless near houses. In my remembrance 
much hath been enclosM, and every year more and more 
is taken in. Anciently the leghs — now corruptly called 
alaighis — i. e. pastures, were noble large grounds. Then 
were a world of labouring people maintained by the 
plough, as yet in Northamptonshire, &c. There were no rates 
for the poor in my grandfather* 8 days ; but for Kingston St. 
Michael (no small parish) the church- ale at Whitsuntide did 
the business. In every parish is, or was, a church-house, to 
which belonged spits, crocks, SfC, utensils for dressing provi- 
sion. Here the housekeepers met and were merry, and gave 
their charity. The young people were there too, and had 
dancing, bowling, shooting at butts &c., the ancients sit- 
ting gravely by and looking on. All things were civil 
and without scandal. This church-ale is doubtless derived 
from the ayavai or love-feasts, mentioned in the New Tes- 
tament. Mr. A. Wood assures me that there were no 
alms-houses, at least they were very scarce, before the 
Reformation ; that over against Christ Church, Oxon, is 
one of the ancientest. In every church was a poor man's 
box, but I never remembered the use of it ; nay, there 
was one at great inns, as I remember it was before the 
wars. Before the Reformation, at their vigils or revels, 
they sate up all night fasting and praying. The night 
before the day of the dedication of the church, certain 
officers were chosen for gathering the money for charitable 

OF Vbnbrt, that is in verse. It is a black-letter yolume printed by 
Wynkyn de Worde, with the lengthy title of ** Treaty ses perteynynge 
to Hawkynge and Huntynge; with other dyvers playsant matters^ 
belongynge unto Noblesse : &c. Sic.** Folio. Westmestre, 1496. 


uses. Since the Reformation and inclosures aforesaid 
these parts have swarm'd with poor people/'* 

The pith of this extract, so far as concerns our present 
purpose, is no doubt, that part which is given in italics -, 
but it is altogether curious as a picture of the old times, 
over which Aubrey laments with so much unction, stig- 
matizing every improvement as the root of all evil. — To 
return to our Whitsuntide. 

It seems to be agreed on all hands, that the word ale, 
to which allusion has so often been made above, means a 
festival, and indeed, its occurrence in the compound words 
bride- ak, church-ale, sometimes called quarter-ale, leet-ale, 
scot-ale, lamb-ale, clerk-ale, give-ale, sufficiently proves that 
this was its general use and meaning.f But it appears to 
have been employed somewhat laxly, as in general is the 
case with words that are most popularly used. Thus in 
the following passage we see clearly enough, that it means 

* Auhrey'*a Misceilanies on Several Curioiia Sutjectay p. 28. 8vo. 1714. 
+ Scot-aUa were, as the word imports, ales or feasts^ maintained bj 
the joint contributions of the reyellers, and were generally held in 
houses of public resort. Leet-ales were feasts held at the leets or 
manorial courts, and probably the drink-lean, mentioned above, signi- 
fied much the same thing. Quarter.ales or ckurclvales, would seem 
to have been established to help out the funds for the repairing of 
chapels, as appears from the following quotation from Sir R. Wors- 
ley'8 History of the Isle qf Wight (p. 210 )—" If the quarter shall 
need at any time to make a quarter-ale or church-ale for the mainte- 
nance of the chapel.*'' The Clerks-ale took place in the Easter holy- 
days, and was, as Warton tells us (Hist, qfEnff, Poetry, vol. iii. p. 128), 
** for the clerk's private benefit and the solace of the neighbourhood ;" 
or in other words, it was a mode of collecting his dues and eking out 
his salary. The Give-ales were feasts of an entirely gratuitous nature, 
whereas all the former may to a certain extent, be called compulsory ; 
they arose out of legacies and donations, and being generally blended 
with religious objects — such as masses for the dead, lighting the altar 
of some particular saint, &c. — they were at first dispensed in the church, 
and still more frequently in the church-yard. 


the brewage itself, which was especially made for some 
particular festival. '' The parishioners of Elveston and 
Okebrook, in Derbyshire, agree jointly to brew four ales, 
and every ale of one quarter of malt, betwixt this and the 
feast of St. John the Baptist next coming. And that 
every inhabitant of the said town of Okebrook shall be 
at the several ales. And every husband and his wife shall 
pay two-pence, every cottager one penny ; and all the in- 
habitants of Elveston, shall have and receive all the profits 
and advantages coming of the said ales to the use and 
behoof of the said church of Elveston.*' * 

From all this it seems to me quite clear that ale, which 
now is restricted to mean the liquor only, — except in com- 
position,'-originally signified 2l festival, and that the brew- 
age from malt got its name from being the established 
drink at those festivals. As to its derivation, I feel as 
confident as any one has a right to be on so difficult a 
subject, that it is only a corruption of yule, as yule itself is of 
huly, and my supposition is farther strengthened by the 
fact of yale being a common pronunciation of ale in some 
of our provinces. 

Restoration-Day — The 29th of May was at one time cele- 
brated as being the anniversary both of the birth and the 
restoration of Charles II. The king*s statue, which stood 
in the centre of the old Royal Exchange, used to be decked 
out with boughs of oak, and in the north it is still cus- 
tomary for the lower classes to wear oak-leaves in their 
hats, to commemorate Charles's escape from his pursuers 
by hiding in an oak. At Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the boys 
of one faction have a taunting rhyme of 

" Royal oak 
The Whigs to provoke ;" 

^ See the Arch€Bologia, vol. xii. p. 13. The*writer however quotes 
from Warton. 


while those of the other, wearing plane-tree leaves in 

their hats, reply with, 

'* Plane-tree leaves ! 
The church-folk are thieves/' 

In Devonshire, the young rustics of Tiverton, dressed 
up in the style of the 17th century and armed with swords, 
parade the streets and gather contributions. At their head 
is a man called Oliver, in a black suit with a cord bound 
about him like a tether, and his face and hands smeared 
with soot and grease. These . are followed by another 
troop in the same costume, and each man bearing an oak- 
branch, and behind these again come four others carrying 
a kind of throne, made of oaken boughs, on which a child 
is seated. The jest of this dull pageant is in the capering 
of the Oliver;^ the insults heaped upon him by the rabble 
of boys, and his punishing them when he can catch them, 
by rubbing them over with the grime and grease from 
his own face. 

Trinity Sunday, — In all the ancient liturgies this feast 
was looked upon as an octave of Pentecost.* It appears 
to have been instituted by Gregory the Fourth, when 
he removed All Saints* Day to November, because the 
harvest being then gathered in, the supply of food 
would be more abundant.f But it was not introduced 
into this country 'till the time of Archbishop Becket, who 
ordained it for no better reason as it would seem, than 
because it was the anniversary of his first mass after his 

consecration. t 

* Wheatley'8 Rat. lUustration^ &c. p. 245. 

+ *' Varum Greg, quartus hoc festu martynim transtulit ad Cal. No- 
vembris, ut tunc collectis terree frugibus convenienter ad hoc festum 
possent copiosius victualia inveniri, instituens tunc fieri festum non 
solum apostolorum et roartyrum sed etiam TrinitHtis et angelorum, 
&c.'* — 6r. Durandi Rationale Div. Offi, lib. vii. c. 34. 

X "Consecratus igitur iii. Nonas Junii, anno etatls sua; circiter xl, 
astantibus omnibus fere suilraganeis ecclesiae Cantuarii-nsis prsesentibus 


Of late years, a fair has been held at Deptford on the 
following Monday, which is said to have originated in the 
trifling pastimes of the visitors assembled to see the mas- 
ter and brethren of the Trinity House, on their annual 
visit to the Trinity House at Deptford. Each year 
brought with it some addition to the previous amuse- 
ments, *till at last the whole, from jingling matches and 
a show or two, swelled into a regular fair. And with this 

concludes all that is worthy of note in the month of May. 


nunc ibidem. Hie post consecrationem tuam instituit feBtivitatem 
principalem S. Trinitatis annis singulis in perpetuum celebTandam, 
quo die primam missam suam celebravit." — Artglia Sacra, p. 8. Folio. 
London, 1691. 



Poison-Diet. — It is not perhaps likely that many 
young ladies will be taken with a fancy for feeding upon 
poisons^ yet the case is not altogether an imaginary one. 
The beautiful Venezia Stanley, Lady Digby, wife to the 
celebrated Sir Kenelm, is an instance of this. To pre- 
serve those charms, which had been the admiration, or 
the envy, of all who came within their influence, she had 
brought herself to feed upon vipers, and capons fattened 
on vipers, and in consequence she was found one morn- 
ing lifeless in her bed, her face reclining upon one hand. ^ 
At least, as she had been labouring under no previous 
illness, the snails and vipers bore the blame of having 
killed her. I have seen a picture of her by Peiitot, which 
certainly goes far to excuse the unusual means she took 
to preserve her beauty. According to this picture she 
md a full voluptuous form, a fair complexion — pale 
indeed and clear as the palest and clearest lily — and rich 
auburn locks flowing in profusion down to the shoulders, 
and over her white swelling bosom. There is another 

* May let 1683. She was buried in Christ Church, London. 


picture of her and her two sons painted by Vandyke, in 
which she is teaching them the use of the orrery, and a 
miniature of her by Peter Oliver, which so late as 184^ 
was at Strawberry Hill, when the whole collection was 
brought to the hammer. The story of the snail-and- viper- 
diet is told by Pennant, though he does not say upon what 
authority.* I have however a distinct recollection of having 
read a similar account elsewhere but with more details, and 
it is from this strong impression upon my mind that I have 
added the particulars of the way in which she was found 
upon the morning of her death. Even the grave Clarendon 
alludes to her as being "a lady of an extraordinary beauty.*' 
It was not, however, so much to show the danger 
of poison- eating to the ladies themselves, as to their 
lovers, that I commenced this article, when the recol- 
lection of the beautiful Venezia came across me, and 
led me away from my purpose. It is time then to come 
to the story told by Camerarius, ivhich, stript of all that 
is not absolutely essential, amounts to this. A maiden 
of surpassing beauty was presented by an Indian king to 
Alexander the Great, who had been accustomed to feed 
upon poison so long that it produced no injurious effect 
upon her. Luckily Aristotle happened to see the danger- 
ous stranger, and judging by the serpent-like sparkling 
of her eyes how matters stood with her, he exclaimed, 
" take care what you do, O Alexander ; there is peril in 
this woman.'' And so the result proved. Those, who 
ventured to touch her perished in a state of intoxication. 
The moral that is hidden under this fable is too obvious 
to need explanation, t but there can be little doubt that 
it was based upon popular belief. Paracelsus, in speaking 

* Pennant* 8 Journey from Chester to London^ p. 336. 4to. Lon- 
don. 1782. 
f Camerarius^ Cent. 1, p. 263, cap. 69. 


of the basilisk says that he carries a poison in his eyes, * 
which he compares to those of women under certain con- 
stitutional derangements. At the same time it must be 
allowed that Paracelsus was no friend to the fair sex and 
was even too glad to catch hold of any story to their dis- 
advantage, while Pliny f on the other hand goes so far as 
to say, that if a woman stand bare against the weather it 
will secure sailors and passengers from all tempests — a 
new sort of lightning conductor, and very profitable to 
be known by farmers as well as seamen. We have the 
less reason to doubt its efficacy, when Pliny upon the au- 
thority of Democritus J relates the yet greater miracle of 
women, that they can be made to speak truth in their 
sleep, and by a very simple process. Take out the tongue 
of a live frog, but mind that no other part adhere to it -, 
then, having first flung the creature into water, apply the 
extracted part upon the heart of a sleeping woman just 
where you can feel its palpitation ; to whatever you ask 
she will return a true answer. 

The Owl, — ^Amongst most people he has ever laboured 
under a bad name as a bird of ill omen, and many are the 
stories told of this unlucky prophet both in our own and 
other countries. He seems to be particularly fond of 
attending the bed of the dying, and letting them know 
by his presence that there is no hope for them. Thus, 
when Charles Frederick^ Duke of Juliers and Treves, was 

* Of the Nature of Things^ book i. p. 6. 

t "Jam primilin abigi grandines turbinesque, contra fulgura ipsa in 
mense nudata ; in navigando quidem tempestates etiam sine mens- 
truis." C. Plinii Sec. Nat. Hist. Hb. xxviii. cap. 23. 

t " Democritus quidem tradit si quis extrahat ranse viventi linguam, 
nulla alia corporis parte adherente, ipsaque dimissa in aquam, impo- 
nat supra cordis palpitationem mulieri dormientl, qusecumque inter- 
rogaverit vera responsuram." C. PHnii Sec. Nat. Hist. lib. xxxii. 
cap. 18. 




struggling nl Rotne with the disease, of which he after- 
wards died, an owl was seen and heard for many days 
upon the palace at Cleves, and in the broad day-light, 
who was scarcely to be driven away from the towers by 
any missiles. * The learned Pighius, however, who tells 
the story, has the grace to observe that he does not think 
such things are altogether to be believed, though be 
deems it right they should be recorded. 

The Ethiopians also, and the Egyptians who borrowed 
niaoy rites from them, accounted the owl a fatal augury, 
and its image was used, like the bull's head among more 
modern races, as a megaenger of death. So great was 
the respect paid by these people to their king, that upon 
his sending the image of this bird to any culprit, 
it was considered as a token that he should imme- 
diately kill himself, and to fail in doing so, or to seek 
in any way to escape from the fate prescribed, was con- 
sidered disgraceful to the condemned no less than to his 
country, suicide in this case being deemed a virtue. A 
story is told of an Egyptian mother, who exceeding the 
virtue, or the cruelty, of the elder Brutus, actually 
strangled with her own girdle the son who was attempt- 
ing to fly from this agreeable invitation. t 

* " EDdemfer^iquoRomscuin moibo conflictabatur s^r, tempme. 
Iiubo Clivis pel plurea diau in palstio Tisut ac audituB media luce, qui 
vii jaculia abigi a turribus ac tectia turn potuit." Hercules Prodtdut, 
Per Slcphanum Pighium, p. 406. 12mo. ColonifB, 1609. 

t " Hoc igituT moTlia signuin illud ewe crediderim, quod ab llctore 
FerebatuT ad damaatum publico judicio, priEsertim apud Etiiiopaa, a 
quibus Sgyptioa alunt multa lituum genera mutuatos ; nam pios 
eoi ante omnes exiitisse, focoiliBiitBitea eoium commeTciBque cum diia, 
et inviceni agitata conviiia, de quibus et Homerua et alii acripaenint. 
facile indicant ita fuisae tunc homisibua perauaaum, Eo verii aigno 
yiso reua aponte »ibi mortem ooniciacebat, magno et aibi et patri<e 
dedecari futnrui, nisi feciaaet ; adeo illi legem aumn ut numen vener- 
ibantur, lulgbque adorabant. Atque ferunt quetudam per hoc morti 


Vulnerary Plants. — " Some empiric surgeons in Scot- 
land take a journey to the Picts' wall every summer to 
gather vulnerary plants* which they say grow plentifully 
there, and are very effectual, heing planted by the Romans 
for surgical uses.'** 

Ghost-Seers, f0ralj» — ^According to a popular supersti- 
tion, people born between twelve and one see ghosts. 

Saint John's Wort and Vervain. — Among the peasantry of 

the Northern countries the dTevil is believed to hold these 

herbs in abhorrence, from its bearing the name and being 

a sacred attribute of Saint John the Baptist. Sir Walter 

Scott says, " I remember a popular rhyme supposed to be 

addressed to a young woman by the devil, who attempted 

to seduce her, in the shape of a handsome young man : 

'' Gin you wish to be leman mine. 
Do off the Saint John*a Wort and the Vervine." 

By his repugnance to these sacred plants his mistress 
discovered the cloven foot."! 

Being thus potent against the devil himself, it was of 
course irresistible when employed against his subordinate 
agents, the witches. Accordingly we read in Drayton, 

** The night-shade strows to work him ill, 
Therewith the vervain and her dill. 
That hindreth witches of their will." 

The Saint John's Wort was also called Hypericon,X from 

destinatum, cum de fuga ccepisset cogitare, priusquam a periculo se 
abstraheret, zona a matre strangulatum." Joannia Pierii Valeriani 
HiBROGLYFHiCA, lib. XX. Cap. xix. p. 203, D. folio, Lugduni. 1610. 
See also JHodorus Siculus (lib. iii.) who tells this same story of a 
mother strangling her son with her own girdle upon his attempting 
to fly after the messenger of death had been sent to him. 

* Burton*8 Admirable Curiosities, p. 38, 12mo. London. 1737. 

t Scott's Poetical Works, vol. iv. p. 277. 

t " Hypericum si Gr. vntpucbv quoniam existimantur folia habere 
plusquam viginti foramina." — " Perforata, quia si inspiciamus herbam 



two Greek words, vwip and hKotn, — that is, above twenty 
— because the leaf is supposed to have above twenty small 
perforations, which may be seen if it be held up to the 
light. Amongst the dabblers in magic it had the name 
of fuga demonuni — demon expeller — from its imaginary 
power of keeping off the devils 3 but to be efficacious it 
should be gathered on Saint John's Eve. It is thus described 
in Pliny — " Hypericon, which some call Chamcspitys, others 
Corion, This herbe shooteth forth many branches, which 
be small and slender, of a cubit in length, and red with- 
all ; in leafe it resembleth rue -, the smell is quicke, hot, 
and piercing ; the seed, which it beareth within certain 
cods, is blacke, and the same ripeueth together with 
barley. The nature of the seed is astringent 5 it doth 
incrassat and thicken humours, and stoppeth a laske.*'* 

The anti-demoniacal character of vervain is no doubt a 
relick of the pagan times, for amongst the "RomRUs verbena , 
or vervine, signified the holy herb gathered from the sacred 
place of the Capitol, with which the priests and heralds 
were crowned when about to make treaties^ or declare 
war. By a corruption of the word it came in time to be 
used for any sacred bough, such as the myrtle, the olive, 
or the laurel, t 

banc inter lucem et oculos nostros xnediam, ejus folia quasi perforata 
apparent.*' Vide Minahew, sub voce Saint John's Wort, 

* A laske is a diarrbea. Having given tbe above translation from 
quaint old Pbilemon Holland (vol. ii. p. 255, fol. London. 1601) it 
may be as well to place by its side tbe original — ^ Eadem prsestat 
bypericon, quam alii cbamaepy tin, alii corion appellant, oleraceo frutice, 
tenui, cubitali, rubente, folio rutas, odore^acri, semine in siliqua nigro 
maturescente cum bordeo. Natura semini spissandi ; alvum sistit, 
&c.*' G. Pliuii Sec. Nat. Hist. lib. xxvi. cap. 53. 

t Servius in bis comments on tbe twelftb book of Virgil, verse 120, 
(no date, page, or signature) says ** propria est berba sacra sumpta de 
loco sacro Capitolii, q coronabatur faeciales et pater patratus foedera 


"^ Fig-tree Candles. — " Many fig-trees are found under 
ground by the river Wever, which the people imagine 
buried there ever ssnee Noah's flood. They cut pieces 
of such wooll (wood) small, and use them for candles, 
which give a good light.'* The author adds, " that such 
woollen (wooden) candles have long snuff, and yet, 
which is a wonder, in falling down do no harm, tho* they 
drop into tow, flax, or the like.*** 

Prognostics by Water, — "In the parish of North Taunton, 
near a house called Bath, is a pit, but in the winter a 
pool, not maintained by any spring, but by the fall of 
rain-water, and dry in summer, of which it is observed 
(saith Dr. Fuller) that before the death of any prince, 
or other accident of importance, it will, tho* in a hot and 
dry season, overflow its banks, and so continue 'till that 
which is prognosticated is fulfilled.* *t 

Numbers, Numbering, — The virtue, which Touchstone 
so zealously maintains to lurk in that little monosyllable, 
if, is much inferior to the qualities, which at one time 
were supposed to reside in numbers, and that not only 
by the vulgar, but by very sage folks, who indited huge 
folios for the benefit of the unenlightened, and who were 
therefore admitted as of right into the guild of phi- 

One of the most popular superstitions connected with 
figures was a belief in the impossibility, or in the danger, 
of counting certain objects — druidical monuments for the 
most part, though sometimes any steps or columns were 
supposed to be under the like spell. Stonehenge had a 
superstitious . belief of this kind attached to it. The 

facturi vei bella inducturi ; abusive tamen etiam yerbenas vocamus 
omnes frodes sacratas, ut est laurus, oliva, vel myrtus." . 

• Burton's Admirable CuriositieSf p. 24. 

t Ibid. p. 46. 


anonymous writer of An Account of Stonehenge and the 
Barrows round it,* observes, in the dignified tone of a 
grave antiquarian, *' another instance of vulgar folly 
is the notion that all the wonder of the work con- 
sists in the difficulty of counting the stones, and with 
this task the infinite nun)bers of people, who visit this 
place, busy themselves. This seems to be the remains 
of superstition^ not yet gone out of people's heads since 
Druid time/* 

The last remark is a mere gratuitous supposition, flung 
out at hazard, and without a single proof offered in sup- 
port of it. Any certain information on the subject 
would have been highly desirable. 

Another instance of this superstition may be found at 
Salkeld in Cumberland in the case of Long Meg and her 
daughters, a very goodly family, being no less than sixty- 
five in number, according to the report of those, who in 
defiance of the general belief have had the temerity to 
count them. These ladies are huge masses of stone^ 
most of which are yet standing upright, and crown an 
eminence on the river Eden, about half a mile north of 
Penrith, in the Parish of Addingham. They are rough 
and unhewn, and form nearly an exact circle of about 
three hundred and fifty paces in circumference, some 
being of grey, or blue, limestone, while others are flint, 
and the most of them granite. Of those that are stand- 
ing, many measure from twelve to fifteen feet in girt, 
and ten feet in height, but others are of a much inferior 
size. The most remarkable of Meg*s family is an up- 
right column on the southern side of the circle. It seems 
to be naturally square^ if such a thing be possible, with- 
out any help from art, and is formed of the red free- 

* P. 4. 12mo. London. No Date. 


Stone, which abounds in this part of the country. In 
girt it is nearly fifteen feet ; in height it towers much 
above its sisters, being eighteen feet high^ and while each 
of its angles corresponds with a point of the compass, 
one faces the circle, as if looking upon it sidewise. In 
that part of the round, which is nearest to the column, 
four large blocks form a square, seeming to indicate that 
they once served to support a table-stone, or else had 
enclosed a space more holy than the rest. On the north, 
east, and west, the appearance of an entrance is marked 
out by two large stones, with a greater interval between 
them than between any others in the circle. Meg her- 
self is said to weigh about sixteen stones and a half, 
though Hutchinson, from whom I derive that somewhat 
doubtful piece of information, has forgotten to state 
upon what occasion her granite ladyship was put into 
the scales, and her weight ascertained with so much 
nicety. Perhaps the result was got at in the form of a 
geometric problem -, as, thus ; — given the height and 
breadth of any damsel, how much will she weigh ? 

Sorry am I to be forced to add, — but truth demands 
it — ^that Meg and her progeny were no better than they 
should be. Not to mince the matter, they were witches, 
and hence on presuming to visit the place where they 
now lie, and which happened to be sacred, they were 
metamorphosed into granite as a punishment for their 
intrusion. It must, however, be confessed that no great 
reliance is to be placed in the numbers that I have 
assigned to the family on the authority of the county 
historian,* inasmuch as it is impossible to count them, 
and of the many persons who have made the trial no 

• Hutchinson in his ** History of Cumberland,** vol. i. p. 226, gives 
a long account of these dniidical remains. 


two were ever found to agree in their reckoning. So at 
least say the people, and it was to illustrate their super- 
stition in regard to numbers that I have dwelt upon the 

In the Isle of Man the superstition is reversed. 
There within Peel Castle is a vault in which are thirteen 
pillars supporting the church above, and the people 
firmly believe that the stranger who visits this cavern out 
of curiosity, and omits to count the pillars, will do some- 
thing to occasion his being confined there.* 

In regard to the qualities inherent in odd and even 
numbers, there seems to be some difference of opinion 
amongst the learned in such high mysteries. Pliny as- 
sures us that odd numbers were more effectual than even, 
and were a thing of the greatest consequence to be ob- 
served in fevers.f Philo Judaeus, who flourished at Alex- 
andria in the time of Caligula, tells us that nature delights 
in a septenary ; the planets, he says, are seven ; the Bear 
is composed of seven stars 3 the changes of the moon 
take place once in a se'nnight, that is to say, in each 
week she accomplishes a full quarter 5 children born at 
seven months are prosperous, while those who come into 
the world at eight are unlucky 3 the third septenary, i. e., 
twenty-one, is the termination of a man*s growth 5 and 
many other instances he adduces of the virtue residing in 

* See Waldron'8 Isle of Man, p. 19 12mo. 1731. 

t **Cur impares numeros ad omnia vehementiorescredimus ; idque 
in febribus dienim observatione intelligitur ?'* C. Plinii Sec Nat. 
Hist. lib. xxviii. cap. 5. So far from doubting the truth of the 
dogma put thus interrogatively, Pliny uses it in confirmation of other 
matters, saying, " libet banc partem singulorum quoque conscientia 
coarguere." It was a fact too generally known and admitted to be 
called in question, and might therefore be safely appealed to in cor- 
roboration of other less demonstrated opinions. 



the number seven -, but as those already given are quite 
I as cogent as the remainder^ it is unnecessary to repeat 


The Romans found as many and as valid reasons for 
admiring the number three* as Philo did for his eulo- 
gies on seven 5 indeed, they are much after the same 
fashion of logic 3 as, for instance — Jove*s thunder was 
three-forked -, Neptune's trident was three-pronged 5 Plu- 
to's house-dog, Cerberus, was three-headed ; the Furies 
were three 5 and Diana was of a threefold nature, being 
Diana upon earth, Hecate in the shades below, and Luna 
in the sky above. Nothing can be more convincing. 

Pythagoras formed a whole system of philosophy upon 
numbers, and even went so far as to declare that, accord- 
ing to the odd or even numbers in a man's name, blind- 
ness, lameness, or any such casualties, will fall upon his 
left or right side.f But it is not often that the philoso- 
phy of numbers, as it was expressed both by the Greeks 
and Romans, is so intelligible as this 3 at times they 
dived into depths, or soared up into heights, whither it is 
' no easy affair to follow them 5 as when they tell us that 

the soul is united to the body by the force of numbers, 
and that so long as the numbers remain the union con- 

* " Xaipei dt rj tpvtnc epSofiadi &c.*' Phikmis Judai Opera y 
vol. i. p. 45. London. 1742. But the most sensible part of Philo's 
observations is on the Creation. He says, that it is idle to talk of the 
world having been made in seven days, according to our ideas of the 
words, as time could not exist till after the world was created. When 
however, he adds, that the phrase is to be understood as meaning a 
perfect senary he is not quite intelligible. Those who wish to grapple 
with this mystery will find it fully discussed by our author in the 
Sacrorum Legum Allegor. lib, i. 

f << E Pythagorse inventis non temer^ fallere, impositivorum nomi- 
num imparem vocalium numerum clauditates, oculive orbitatem, ac 
I similes casus, dextris assignare partibus, parem laevis." C. Plinii 

Sec. Nat. Hist. lib. xxviii. cap. 6. 

o 5 


tinueS; but on their surcease the secret power is destroyed 
which held soul and matter together. In this way has 
been explained the poet's line, 

" Explebo numerum reddarque tenebris." 
" I shall have fulfilled my number and be restored to darkness.'** 

The Romans had at least a semblance of reason for 
their preference of odd numbers^ since they believed, as 
Servius tells us in his notes on Virgil's eighth eclogue, 
that the gods above delight in them, while the deities of 
the shades below rejoice in even numbers. It would 
seem to be somewhat contradictory of this doctrine that 
seven should be held particularly dangerous to males. If we 
may believe Pliny, they who were made to die of hunger 
in prison, never survived the seventh day ; and Aristotle 
mentions several animals, who never lived beyond the 
seventh year. The number, sixty-three, which is a mul- 
tiple of seven by nine, is particularly fatal to old men, as 
we learn from Aulus Gellius,t who observes that all of 
advanced age meet with some disease or misfortune, or 
the loss of life itself, at that period, whence it acquired 
the name of climacteric. He then goes on to give a 
letter from Augustus Caesar to his grandson Caius, in 
which this superstitious feeling is simply yet beautifully 

* Upon this Bhodiginus observes, '* Ex hac item occultiore facilitate 
scribit Aurelius Macrobius, numerorum carta costitutamque rationem 
animas sociare corporibus, qui numeri dum supersint, persevcrat corpus 
animari ; quum vero deficiant, arcanam illam vim solvi qua societas 
ipsa constabat." Ludovici Calii Rhodigini Lectiones Antigua ^ lib. 
xxii. cap. 6, p. 1034, folio. 1599. 

t " Observatum in multd. hominum memorii, expertumque est in 
senioribus plerisque omnibus, sexagesimum tertium vitae annum cum 
periculo et clade aliqul venire, aut corporis morbique gravioris, aut 
vitflB interitus, aut animi eegritudinis ; propterea, qui rerum verbo- 
rumque istiusmodi studio tenentur, eum aetatis annum appellant 
KXifiaKTTfpiKov.^* Auli Gellii Noctes Attica, lib. xv. cap. 7. 


expressed. '' Be of good cheer^ my beloved Caius, whom^ 
so help nie heaven I — I ever long for when thou art ab- 
sent. But more particularly do my eyes demand my 
Caius on days like yesterday^ when J hope^ wherever you 
were, that you celebrated in health and joy my sixty-fourth 
birth-day 5 for, as you see, I have escaped my sixty-third 
year, that common climacteric of old men.*'* 

Bodin, however, assures us that this peril, belonging 
to seven and its multiples , affects only men, while it is six 
that brings danger to women ', and for this excellent rea- 
son J women came to puberty in their twelfth year, where- 
as the same constitutional change does not take place with 
the male sex till two years later. f The argument, as Sir 
Lucius in the play says of a quarrel, would be only spoiled 
by explanation. 

As if in continuation of the same contradictory system, 
it was reckoned highly unlucky for thirteen people to 
meet at table, the odd number in this case losing its usual 
good character. It would seem, therefore, that the ex- 
ceptions to the rule of the " gods rejoicing in odd num- 
bers" is pretty numerous. 

From the Greeks and Romans the traditional supersti- 
tion in regard to numbers came down to the moderns 

* (( 

Have, mi Caii, meus ocellus jucundiBsimuB, quem semper medius 
fidius desidero cum a me abes ; sed praecipu^ diebtis talibus quails 
est hodiernuB oculi mei requirunt meum Caium, quem, ubicunque hoc 
die fuisti, spero laetum et benevalentem celebrasse quartum et sexa- 
gesimum natalem meum ; nam, ut Tides, KXifiaKriipa communem 
seniorum omnium tertium et sexagesimum annum evasimus." AuH 
Gellii Noctea Attica^ lib. xv. cap. 7. 

t " At numero Deus impare gaudet, ut ait poeta," (VirgiUi Eclog, 
viii.) ** et impares numeri maribus tribuuntur ; nam qudd Seneca scribit, 
* Septimus quisque annus aetati notam imprimit,' de maribus tantum 
dictum est, nam fsBminis quisque sextus aetati notam aliquam indidit, 
ut cum mares anno decimo quarto, faeminae duodecimo pubescant." 
Bodinw, De Republican lib. iv. cap. ii. p. 414. folio. Paris. 1586. 


though with many alterations. Werensal in enumerating 
the fears and precautions of one under this belief says, 
that if sick he will never take the prescribed pills in an 
even number — *' segrotus prsescriptas pilulas pari numero 
nunquam deglutiet 5"* and we read in Delrio that the 
seventh son of a seventh son has a singular gift of curing 
fevers, provided no female birth has intervened, t and 
they are born in legitimate wedlock. 

This, long as it may seem to many, is only a slight 
taste of the various superstitions connected with the sub- 
ject. But enough has probably been detailed to satisfy 
the mass of readers, who would not, I fear, derive much 
pleasure from any attempt to explain the Pythagorean 
philosophy of numbers, if indeed it be capable of expla- 

Les Hans. (France). — A sort of spirits that inhabit certain 
houses, and every night torment the inmates by making 
a terrible uproar. Noise and disorder seem to be the 
natural element of these goblins, and in consequence the 
houses, which they have unluckily selected for their va- 
garies, generally end by being deserted.J 

Revenans (Ghosts ; France.) Ghosts are spirits, which 

* Werenfelfii Opuscula, vol. ii. p. 634. 4to. Basileee, 1718. 

f Tale curationis donum, sed a febribus tantum sanandi, habere pu- 
tantur in Flandri^ quotquoi nati sunt Die Parasceues, et quotquot 
nullo fsemineo foetu intercedente septimi masculi legitimo thoro sunt 
nati." Disguisitiones Magical^ a M, DelriOf lib. i. cap. 3. Quaestio 
iv. p. 24. 4to. Yenetiis. 1616. So far is plain enough, but Delrio 
is not always, or often, so intelligible. In imitation of the ancients 
he tells us that heaven delights in odd numbers, and odd numbers are 
given to men, vrho by the same token change every seven years, while 
women change in six. One might be inclined to find in these more rapid 
bodily changes an excuse for the proverbial inconstancy of the sex. 

X For this, and the following popular French superstitions, I am 
in part indebted to Pluguett Contea Populaires, Pr4)uges, ^c, 8vo. 
Rouen. 1834. 


usually appear in the form' they wore during their life- time. 
These souls of the dead return to see their friends or rela- 
tions^and in general demand prayers, or the fulfilment of a 
promise. £yen the sound of their voices is the same as it 
was when they belonged to the living, and they seldom 
cease from their visits 'till what they ask has been scrupu- 
lously complied with. 

FifoUels, i,e, feux-follets. (Will-o-the-Wisp, France). 
Exhalations from marshes, composed of inflammable gas, 
which burn with a blueish flame on the surface of stag- 
nant waters, and present a strange and fantastic sight on 
summer evenings. The country people deem them mali- 
cious spirits, that take a delight in leading travellers 
astray, and afterwards burst out into shouts of villainous 
laughter. This must not, however, be confounded with 
the follets, which seems to be much the same as the gou- 
belin, i.e. household-spirit, the Kohold of the Germans. 

Letiches. (France). — Animals of a dazzling white, who 
appear only in the night-time, and disappear as soon as 
any one attempts to touch them. They do no harm to 
any one, and according to a beautiful popular belief are 
the souls of children who have died without baptism. 
Pluchet in a very prosaic mood suggests that they may 
be the Ermine of France, a little animal whose natural 
agility may account for its sudden vanishing. 

Lubvns, (France). — These are phantoms in the shape 
of wolves, who prowl about at night, and endeavour to 
get into churchyards, but for the rest are very timid. 
The chief of them is all black, and much larger than the 
others. When any one approaches he stands upon his 
hind legs, and begins to howl, when the whole troop 
disappear with cries of " Robert is dead ! — Robert is 
dead !" 

Gouhelin, or Gobelin, (Goblin. France). — A sort of 
spirit, or familiar demon, who leads horses to drink, gives 

^»«<*— iwl— w»^*» ■ »w mm* 


tbem their corn and hay, is a particular friend in some 
instances^ wakes the lazy servants, upsets the furniture^ and 
testifies his satisfaction in such wild pranks by shouts of 
laughter. He is almost always invisible^ though sometimes 
he shows himself in the shape of a handsome black horse, 
all ready saddled and bridled. But^ woe to the unlucky 
cavalier who ventures to mount him 5 he rears, plunges, 
runs off with his rider, and finally vanishes from under 
him, leaving him in a quagmire. This trick is familiar 
to our own Puck, especially amongst the Manx -, and the 
Lutin a] so, a water-spirit, is fond of assuming the same 
shape, and drowning those who are simple enough to 
ride him. Indeed this transformation into a black horse 
for evil purposes is widely spread amongst the sea- 

Loup*garou, varou, or warou. (The Were-wolf. France). 
— The loup'garou, the wehrwolf of the Germans is a man 
metamorphosed by some wizzard into a wolf. The trans- 
formation is supposed to run like a lease for a certain 
odd term of years, three or seven, during which the were- 
wolf prowls about at night, and is only to be disen- 
chanted by drawing blood from him with a key. The 
old Norman laws in speaking of certain crimes 'and 
their punishment, add, " let the culprit be a wolf," — 
wargus esto — that is to say let him be hunted down 
like a wolf, which is likely enough to have been the 
origin of the superstition of the were-wolf. This con- 
jecture gains additional force from the term, wargus, 
i. e. gerulpkus,* warou, werewolf, being employed instead 
of /ottp. As to our own term of were-wolf, toere is only 
a very slight corruption of the Latin vir, a man, and we 

* ''Vidimufl enim frequenter in Anglia per lunationes homines in 
lupoB mutari, quod hominum genus gerulphoa Galli nominant." 
Gervasius TiUehuriensia in Otiis Imperial, part i. 



find it used in the same sense in the compound were-geUl, 
which literally means man-money, that is to say the value 
of a man^ or price at which his murder might be atoned 
and absolved. I doubt much too whether warm, varou, 
gerulphus^ and finally loup-garou, have not all come 
from the same simple original. However this may be^ 
there is no doubt whatever that the word, war, was widely 
employed amongst the old German dialects in the sig- 
nification of man, which became wer or were amongst the 
Anglo-Saxons, and in time was lost altogether except in 
a few compounds, themselves almost fallen into disuse. 

Rongeur d'Os. (The Bone-Gnawer : France).— This is 
a phantom in the shape of a large dog, who prowls 
about the streets of Bayeux in the long winter-nights, 
gnawing bones, and dragging along a chain. He also is 
a man, who has been thus transformed by some sorcerer 
or by the devil. But all these superstitions bear strong 
marks of a northern origin, and in the oldest sagas in the 
Edda we find examples of men changed into wolves and 
dogs by the power of evil genii. 

La Bete Saint Loup. (France). — At the beginning of 
I the fifteenth century a furious wolf ravaged the environs 

of Bayeux and penetrated into the suburbs. Saint Loup, 
who was then the bishop of that city, took compassion 
on his diocesans, and went out boldly to meet the brute. 
At the approach of so godly a personage the animal 
remained immovable, when the Saint wound his stole 
about his enemy's neck, and without ceremony drowned 
him in the river Dr6me. At certain periods of the year 
however, the wolf returns and prowls about the church 
of Saint Loup. If you have the least doubt of the 
story, only go to Bayeux, and the good people of the 
place will show you the very spot where Saint Loup 
threw the brute into the river, and a bas-relief above the 


church-door, as well as a picture within, both confirm- 
ative of the fact. We have the greater reason for put- 
ting implicit faith in these testimonials, as after all they 
do not vouch for any very singular miracle. In the 
following age Saint Vigor did as much, or more ; he, 
who was also a bishop of Bayeux, delivered the country 
from a serpent whose breath alone poisoned men and 
animals. Fluquet with his usual proneness to spoiling 
a good story by explanation wishes to allegorize this 
into an emblem of the triumph of Christianity over 

Divination. — "When I was a boy, in North Wilts, 
(before the Civill Warres) the may d- servants were wont 
at night, after supper, to make smoothe the ashes on the 
hearth, and then to make streakes on it with a stick ; 
such a streak signified particularly to her that made it, 
such an unmarried man, such a one such a mayd. The 
like for the men. Then the men and the mayds were to 
choose by this kind of way their husbands and wifes ; or 
by this divination to know when they should marry. 
The maydes, I remember, were very fond of this kind of 
magic, which is clearly a branch of geomantie. Now the 
rule of geomantie is that you are not to go about your 
divination but with a great deal of seriousness, and also 
prayers ; and to be performed in a very private place, 
or on the sea-shore. 

" Another remainder of geoniancy, to divine whether 
such a one will return this night or no, is by the sheath 
of a knife, which one holds at the great end with his 
two forefingers, and says, ' he comes / then slips down 
his upper finger under his lower, and then the lower 
under that, and snys, ' he comes not * and sic deinceps till 
he is come to the bottome of his sheath, which gives the 


answer."* A note in the margin^ with the signature of 
W. K., tells us, " this way of choosing Valentines by 
making little furrows in the ashes, and imposing such 
and such names on such line or furrow is practised in 
Kent and many other parts. — W. K." 

Leeha and Ramsons. — )n the West of England the fol- 
lowing rhymes preserve a popular belief, which, without 
being actually a superstition, is very much akin to it. 

** Eate leekeB in Lide, and ramsins in May, 
And all the yeare after physitians may play.*'f 

Lide is a word used in the West for March; and ramsins, 
or as it is more generally written, ramsons, is a species 
of wild garlic. 

Wind. — "On Malvern Hills, in Worcestershire, and 
thereabouts, when they fanne their corne and wante wind, 
they cry ^ youle ! youle ! youle ! * to invite it, which 
wordy no doubt, is a corruption of .ZBolus, the God of the 

Teeth, — "When children shale (i. e. shed) their teeth, the 

women use to wrap or put salt about the tooth, and so 

throw it into a good fire. The above-mentioned Cramer 

saith that in Germany in his native country^ some women 

will bid their children to take the tooth which is fallen or 

taken out, and goe into a dark corner of the house or 

parlour, and cast the same into it, thereby saying these 

words : 

' Mouse, here 1 give thee a tooth of bone. 
But give thou me an iron one.'§ 

(or iron tooth) believing that another good tooth will 
grow in its place.** 

* Aubrey* s Remains of Gentiliame and JudaismCy MS. folio 111. 
+ Idem, folio 105. 

X Idem, folio 110; but I have already shown that youle has nothing 
at all to do with ^olus. 
\ Idem, folio 104. 


Hares. — " If a hare crosseth the way, or one stumble 
at the threshold going out^ it is still held ominous among 
the country people."* 

Holy Mawle. — If we may trust Aubrey, and I have no 
where else met with an allusion to this belief, the people 
at one time used to imagine that a mallet, or wooden 
hammer, was hung up behind the church door, with 
which sons might knock their fathers on the head, upon 
the old gentlemen's attaining the ripe age of seventy. 
His words are, — "The holy mawle, which they fancy 
hung behind the church door, which, when the father 
was seventie, the sonne might fetch to knock his father 
on the head, as effete and of no more use.'*t — Mawle is 
the same as mall, and signifies a wooden hammer. 

Sieve and Shears, — '' The magick of the sive and sheeres 
(I thinke) is in Virgil's Eclogues. The sheeres are stuck 
in a sieve, and two maydens hold up the sieve with the 
top of their fingers by the handle of the shiers ; then 
say, ' By St. Peter or St. Paul such a one hath stoln such 
a thing.* The other saith, ' By St. Peter or St. Paul he 
hath not stoln it.' After many such adjurations the sieve 
will turne at the name of the thiefe." X 

Magpie. — " When a magpie chatters on a tree by the 
house, it declares the coming of a stranger thither that 
night. So likewise a thiefe in the candle. "§ 

Running Streams. — '^ Mol Tayler was advised by the 
wizard of Feversh. to leap three times over a small run- 
ning streame, to prevent her being taken when she es- 
caped out of prison."|| 

Hag-ridden, — " A receipt to cure a horse of being hag- 
ridden. Take bitter-sweet and holly, and twist them 

• Aubrey's Remains of Gentilisme and Judaisme^ MS. folio 109. 
t Id. idem. t Id. idem. 

§ Idem,foUo 111. II Id. idem. 


together, and hang it about the horse's neck like a gar- 
land. It will certainly cure him. Probat."* The pro- 
batum at the end of this recipe is admirable. Aubrey 
seems resolved that a good story shall not be disbelieved 
for want of testimony, but^ as if not quite satisfied, he 
gives us a second remedy against the same misfortune in 
these words — " In the West of England, (and I believe 
almost every where in this nation) the carters^ and 
groomes, and hostlers, doe hang a flint that has a hole in 
it over horses that are hagge-ridden, for a preservative 
a«:ainst it." 

TVhinni/'Moor, — Grief and joy would seem to have been 
strangely blended together in the funeral rites of our 
ancestors, with a plentiful mixture also of superstition. 
In Yorkshire the vulgar believed, even in Aubrey's time,t 
that upon the death of any one, his soul went over to 
Whinny-Moor, a place which had its name from the 
abundance of whins, i,e. furze, growing on it, and which 
was therefore particularly calculated to test the good or 
evil qualities of the soul in its pilgrimage. At such 
times, what Aubrey calls a prtefica, — that is, a woman hired 
to lament at funerals and sing the funeral song, — would 
attend and chaunt the following dirge for the benefit t)f 
the departed, or, as it may be rather suspected, of the 
living, for nothing could be better calculated to wake the 
dormant charity of the superstitious. 

** This ean night, this ean night, 
every night and awle ; 
Fire and fleet,:}: and candle light, 
and Christ receive thj sawle ; 

* Auhrey'*8 Remains qf Gentilisme and Jvdaisme, MS. folio 113. 

+ Idem, folio 114. 

:{: In a marginal note Aubrey explains ^eet hy water, but he gives 
no authority for his assertion, and I can not help suspecting that he 
has mistaken the word for sleet. 


When thou from hence doest pass away, 

every night and awie. 
To Whinnj-Moor thou comest at last, 

and Christ receive thy sawle. 

If ever thou gave hosen or shun, 

every night and awle, 
Sitt thee down and putt them on, 

and Christ receive thy sawle. 
But if hosen nor shoon thou never gave nean, 

every night and awle, 
The whinnes shall prick thee to the bare beane, 

and Christ receive thy sawle. 

From Whinny-Moor that thou mayst pass, 

every night and awle. 
To Brig o'Dread thou comest at last, 

and Christ receive thy sawle. 
From Brig of Dread, no broader than a thread,* 

every night and awle, 
To Purgatory fire thou com'st at last, 

and Christ receive thy sawle. 

If ever thou gave either milke or drinke, 

every night and awle, 
The fire shall never make thee shrink, 

and Christ receive thy sawle. 
But if milk nor drink thou never gave nean, 

every night and awle, 
The fire shall burn thee to the bare beane, 

every night and awle." 

• Aubrey here favours us with a various reading, 

*' From Brig of Dread that thou may'atpaas** 

As these words have been given in the preceding part of the stanza, 
and do not amend the meaning, I have preferred what the reader now 
finds in the text. The whole reminds me of some of the monkish 
Latin hymns, which have a tone of quaint solemnity about them, that 
charms in spite of their want of classic purity — and I might add of their 
want of poetry. 


New Moon. At one time it was a custom among the 
women to welcome the new moon with a curtsy, and 
sometimes with a blessing, the regular formula being, 
" 'tis a fine moon, God bless her," a relick no doubt of 
Druidism, or of Roman superstition. But the moon 
appears to have always exerted more influence over the 
minds of the superstitious than the stars or even the sun 
itself. Amongst other popular rites, Aubrey records that 
the women would sit astride across a gate or style on the 
first evening of the new moon's appearance, and inter- 
rogate her as to their future husbands.* 

" All hail to thee, Moon ; all hail to thee ; 
I prithee, good moon declare to me 
This night who my husband must be." 

Invisible Beans, " The Jewes have strange fancies con- 
cerning the invisible beane, Sc. Take the head of a man 
that dies of a natural death, and set it in the ground, and 
in his eie set a beane, cover it with earth, and enclose it 
about, that nobody may look into it ; and without the 
enclosure set another beane or two. When those with- 
out the enclosure are ripe, that within will be ripe also. 
Then take the bean-stalke within the enclosure, and take 
a child, which hold fast by the hand, and the child must 
shell the beanes. There will be but one invisible beane 
of them all, which when the child have, the other party 
can not see her." f Aubrey, however, who relates this 
story redises to believe it, which considering his usual 
capacity of belief, seems somewhat capricious. He adds, 
however, '^ thus much I am morally certain of, that about 
1680 two (or three) Jews merchants did desire of Mr. 
Wyld Clarke, merchant of London, leave to make this 
following experiment in his garden at Mile End, which 

* See Aubrey t ut supra, fol. 116. 
f Idem, fol. 167. ^ 


he saw them doe, and who told me of it. As I remember, 
'twas much after this manner. They took a black catt 
and cutt ofTits head, at a certain aspect of the planets, 
and buried it in his garden by night with some ceremonies, 
that I have forgot, and put a beane in the braine of the 
catt 3 but about a day or two after a cock came and 
scratched it all up. Mr. Clark told me that they did be- 
lieve it, and yet they were crafty subtle merchants. This 
brings to my mind a story that was generally believed 
when I was a schoolboy (before the Civill Warres), that 
thieves, when they broke open a house, would putt a 
candle into a dead man*s hand, and then the people in 
the chamber would not awake. There is such a kind of 
story somewhere among the magical writers."* To be 
sure there is. It is what the Germans call the hand of 
glory, though with them it is used not for sending people to 
sleep, but for discovering hidden treasures. 

Thunder. '' In Herefordshire, and those parts the woe- 
men doe putt iron, e. g. — an iron barr or the like — on the 
barrell to keep the beer from sowring."t 

Horse-shoes, The belief that nailing a horse-shoe to 
the threshold is a preservative against witches yet pre- 
vails in some parts, and therefore it is highly important 
to know that the said horse-shoe must be picked up acci- 
dentally on the high-way, I and there are good and solid 
reasons for its supposed virtue, — namely that Mars, who 
is the representative of iron, is an enemy to Saturn the 
liege-lord of witches. 

Invisibility, " Take on Midsummer night at XII, when 
all the planets are above the earth, a serpent, and kill him 
and skinne him ; and dry it in the shade 3 and bring it to 
a powder. Hold it in your hand and it will be invisible. 

* Aubrey f ut supra, fol. 167. 
t Idem, fol. 168. t Id. Idem. 


The receipt is in Johannes de Florenti^^ a Rosycrucian in 
8vo. in High Dutch. Dr. Ridgley, the physitian hath it, 
who told me of this."* 

SUh/^How, — "Great conceits are raised of the involution 
or membranous covering commonly called the Silly^How, 
that sometimes is found about the heads of children upon 
their birth, and is therefore preserved with great care, 
not only as medical in diseases, but effectual in success 
concerning the infant and others, which is surely no more 
than a continued superstition. For hereof we read in the 
life of Antoninus delivered by Spartianus, f that children 
are born sometimes with this natural cap, which mid- 
wives were wont to sell unto lawyers, who had An opinion 
it advantaged their promotion." { 

Salt — is said by all writers upon magic to be particularly 
disagreeable to the evil spirits, and it is owing to this 
noxious substance being dissolved in holy water that it 
has such power in scaring them away. It seems not im- 
probable that salt acquired this high character and its use 
in all sacrifices from its powers of resisting corruption. 

Unlucky Hours. — Marriage was celebrated in the foi^- 
noon, because according to the general belief it was " not 
so lucky to undertake any serious affaire declinante 
sole.'* § 

Spell against Hydrophobia, — '' Rebus rubus Epilepscum. 

* Aubrey, ut supra, fol. 131. 

+ Aubrey, who was a careless, though a tolerably excursive reader 
has omitted according to his usual custom to give a proper reference 
to his author. I do not myself remember anything of the kind that he 
states in Spartianus, who however has written the life of more than one 
of the Antonines. It is possible too that something of the sort may 
occur in one of the other five historians whose works are always pub. 
lished in the same volume with Spartianus. 

X Aubrey, ut supra, fol. 174. 

§ Id. fol. 177. 


Write these words in paper, and give it to the party, or 
beast, bitten^ to eat in breads or &c. Mr. Dennys of Poole 
in Dorsetshire sayeth this receipt never fails. Perhaps 
this spell may be the anagramme of some fence or recipe, 
as Dr. Bathurst has discovered in Abradacabra."* 

• • Aubrey y ut supra, fol. 179. 



There were three proverbs^ or sayings rather^ at one time 
in use amongst the French, which are curious from their 
connexion with old customs. They are To Pay bis 
English, To Lose the Hair, and To Lose the Girdle, 
and to the explanation given of them in HowelVs Familiar 
Letters I will add a few remarks from other writers. 

To pay his English. — *' There is one saying, or proverb, 
which is observable, whereby France doth confess herself 
to be still indebted to England, which is when one hath 
paid all his creditors, he useth to 8ay,j*aipayi tons mes 
Anglais, so that in this and other phrases Anglais, is taken 
for creancier, or creditor. And I presume it has its foun- 
dation from this, that when the French were bound by 
treaty in Bretigny to pay England so much for the ransom 
of King John, then prisoner, the contribution lay so heavy 
on the people that for many years they could not make 
up the summe.'* 

To lose the hair. — "There be two other sayings in 
French, which, though they be obsolete, yet are they 
worthy the knowledge. The first is, il a perdu ses cheveux, 
he hath lost his hair, meaning his honour 3 for in the tirst 
race of kings there was a law called la loi de la cheveleure 

VOL. 1. p 


whereby it was lawful for the noblesse only to wear long 
hair 5 and if any of them had committed some foul and 
ignoble act, they used to be condemned to have their long 
hair to be cut off as a mark of ignominie ', and it was as 
much as if he had been feurdelized, viz. : burnt on the 
back, or hand, or branded on the face." Thus far 
Howell — but his reading on the subject does not appear to 
have been very extensive, while he is guilty of the un- 
pardonable fault of giving no authority for the little be 
does advance. There was no want, however, of informa- 
tion in regard to this matter, for in olden times the hair 
Wiis held amongst most nations in singular honour, and to 
be deprived of it in any way was amongst the gravest 
punishments. Thus Gandinus tells us that a servant who 
contemned the imperial edicts was to be beaten naked at 
the stake and to have his head shaved,* — that women, 
who had committed an offence against others, should also 
be beaten and shaved by the men of the neigh bourhood,t — 
that a slave should be polled^ who dared to set fire to a 
forest t — the like should be the punishment of a thief, but 
on the second offence he was to be sTiom entirely,§ — all 
these being Lombard customs. Other authors give ample 
testimony to the same effect. Camerarius in particular 
is quite eloquent on the subject, devoting to it a whole 
chapter, wherein he relates a multitude of notable things. || 
The beard and hair, he tells us, in the language of divines 

* '' Servus, qui literas imperiales despexerit, nudus ad palum yapulet 
et capilli ejus tondeantur." Gandin. Tractatua de Malt^ficiia—De 
partis reorunit Sect. 55. p. 190, Svo. Lugduni. 1555. 

f " Item yerberantur et tonderantur mulieres per viios yicinales, 
quae super allquas aggressionem fecerint." Id, 

t ** Item debet tonderi seryus qui ignem in sylva mittere ausus 
fuerit." Id. 

§ " Decalyatur fur pro secundo furto.'* Id* Sect. 56. Id. 

\\ Comer urii Opera Subciaivaf Centuria prima, cap. xzzvi. p. 165, 
4to. Francf. 1602-6-9. 


were not to be understood as being material^ but with 
reference to the spirit^ as appears from the ''fragrant 
beard of Aaron.*'''' In the same way his sons were for- 
bidden by divine law to shave their heads or chins^t and 
Hesychius Hierosolymitanus maintains that these capil- 
lary ornaments were the signs of our wisdom and ()er- 
fection. From Jean du Tillet^ Bishop of Meaux, we 
learn that it was a custom amongst the ancient Franks 
during the Merovingian dynasty X that the people should 
be cropt in sign of subjection ; those of the blood royal 
wore long hair as an emblem of their sovereignty^ 
and from their childhood before they came to the throne 
allowed it to grow as much as possible, having it 
bristling up, as it were, behind, while on the two sides in 
front the said locks were braided, combed, anointed, and 
perfumed. In this way when the Burgundians had slain 
Clodomir, the son of Clovis, the first Christian king, they 
recognized the body by the long locks ; and thus too when 
the son of Chilperic was murdered and flung into the 
river Marne by order of his mother-in- la w,-Fredegonde, 
he was known by the fisherman who had taken the corpse 
in his nets."§ 

* Psalm czxxiii. 2. t Leviticus xxL 5. 

X In the notes upon Eginhait De Vita Caroli Mag^u (cap, i. p. ] 4, 
4to. Trc\j. ad Rkenum) we are told that this custom originated with 
the son of Pharamond. 

§ *' En la premiere ligne^ des Meroviens .... les subjets por- 
toient cheveux roignez, en signe de subjection ; les princes du sang 
les portoient longs en signe de domination et de leur enfance avant 
leur advenemens aux couronnes les laissoient croitre tant qu'ils 
pouYoient, en avoient partie du derriere comme espousees (an old word 
used by Rabelais and other ancient writers for herisseea) et par devant 
des deux costez estoient lesdits cheveux tressez, peignez, oincts, et par- 
fumez. Agathie en sa Histoire Gothique escrit la difference susdite 
et que les Bourguignons recogneurent aux cheveux longs avoir tue en 
la bataille Clodomire fils de Clovis premier Chrestien," &c. Recueil 
dea Roys de France^ S^c, Par M. J. du Tillet, p. 217. 4to. Paris. 

P 2 


A story singularly illustrative of hair being the ensign 
of royalty is given by Francis Hotoman, a writer suffici- 
ently distinguished to have been deemed worthy the 
notice of Bayle. In substance it is as follows. Formerly 
Queen Chrotildis, the mother of Cbildebert and Clothaire, 
was regent, who, being passionately devoted to the children 
<rf her deceased son, Chlodomer, used every effort to ex- 
clude her surviving sons that she might exalt her grand- 
children to the royal dignity. Hence she nourished 
their locks with the greatest care, of which fact the king- 
brothers being made aware, they immediately despatched 
to her a certain Arcadius, who, exhibiting a naked sword 
and a pair of scissors, gave her the option, which of the 
two she would have applied to the heads of her grand- 
sons. But she, says Gregory of Tours, moved with ex- 
cessive rage, particularly when she raW the drawn sword 
and scissors, replied, in the bitterness of her feelings, ** I 
would rather, if they are not raised to the throne, see 
them dead than shorn.'* llius either grandson was slain 
before her eyes.* 

* ** Dominata est quondam Chrotildis Regina, mater Childeberti et 
Clotharii regum, quae, cum alterius filii, nomine Chlodomeris, demortui 
filioB insane quodam amore prosequeretur, summam contentionem 
adhibuit ut nepotes, remotis fiiiis, in regiam dignitatem produceretur. 
Itaque capillitium eorum summ& cum diligentia nutriebat, ciyaB rei 
reges fratres certiores facti, confestim Arcadium quendam ad earn 
miserunt, qui nudum gladium stmulqueforcipem ei ostentans,optionem 
illi faceret utrum illorum nepotum suorum capiti admoveri mallet. 
At ilia, inquit Gregoriua Turon, nimium felle commota, prsecipud 
cum gladium cemeret evaginatum ac forcipem, amaritudine pneventa, 
respondit, ' satius mihi est, si ad regnum non eriguntur, mortuoa eot 
videre quam tonsos.' Ita nepos uterque in ipsius conspectu interfectua. 
Franc, Hotomani FrancogaUia^ c&t^. xix. p. 13, 12mo. Colonise, 1574. 
It should be observed, however, that in the bishop's narrative the 
queen is described as not knowing what she said in the excess of her 
grief — '^gnoransin ipso dolore quiddiceret" — {Qreg. Tur, Hist, Fran- 


This custom however which limited the privilege to 
kings and princes fell into desuetude^ and hair became 
the prevailing ornament of all classes, even amongst the 
Franks as it had ever been amongst most of the German 
tribes/ for Camerarins tells us that laws were actually 
made for the punishment of those^ who should lay 
violent hands on the hair or beard of their neighbours. 
" If any one/' says the statute, ^' plucks out another's 
hair or beard, let him compound with the injured party 
for ten libras, and pay a fine to the judge of twenty/' t 
To shave boys or girls against their inclination was also 
the subject of a heavy mulct. 

cor, lib. iii. cap. 18) which gives a yery different colour to the affair. 
But the most amusing part is the solenm politeness and measured 
respect of Arcadius — '^oluntatem tuam, o gloriosissima regina, filii 
tui, domini nostri, expetunt, quid de pueris agendum censeas, utrum 
incisis crinibus eos yivere jubeas, an utrumque jugulari" — which ex- 
quisite address means in English ** Most noble queen, our lords, your 
sons, request to know your pleasure, as to what you choose should be 
done with the children — whether you command that they should live 
with shorn locks, or whether you will have both their throats cut.'* — 
This is in the highest style of burlesque, and most assuredly never 
was, and never will be surpassed. But as Tony Lumpkin's friend 
observes, " the genteel thing is the genteel thing at all times, if so be 
as how a man is in a concatenation accordingly " — and Arcadius must, 
it should seem, have been in an admirable *' concatenation.** 

* Tillet, up supra, who cites Martial for his authority. 

t Camerarii Opera Subcesiva, Centuria prima, cap. xzxvi., 
p. 166. — I have not attempted to translate the word, libra, from 
pure ignorance of what its real meaning may be when applied to a 
fine in the reign of Charlemagne. Du Cange, the usual resource of 
every one whose knowledge leaves him in the lurch, is learned as 
usual upon this topic, but the very abundance of his information only 
adds to the uncertainty. Eckhel, it is true, tells us {Doctrina Kvr 
morum Veterum, vol. v. p. 4), that libra was synonimous with as, 
but this, whether in gold or silver, would make the fine enormous, 
considering the value of money in the days above alluded to. 



In the later times of Greece and throughout the East 
to deprive a criminal of the hair or beard was considered 
no slight punishment ; in cases of rape it was the usual 
penalty, as inflicting the highest degree of infamy ; and 
in Tacitus we read that among the Teutones the guilty 
wife had her hair cut^ and was driven forth naked by her 
husband in presence of all her relations.* So important 
indeed was the beard that to touch and swear by it was 
a most solemn form of adjuration, and amongst many 
nations it was considered to be a substantial pawn or 
pledge for a creditor^t meaning I presume that in case of 
failure, the beard^ like Shylock*s pound of flesh, was to 
be exacted. 

The Lacedemonians % bad the same regard for the 
hair in compliance with the laws of Lycurgus who en* 
joined the cherishing of it upon the principle that it 
would make the handsome yet handsomer, while it 
would at least render the ugly terrible j and Diogenes 
used to say that he wore a beard in order that he might 
be known for a man. 

On the other hand there were some, who were no less 
hostile to long hair. Our own Puritans were the staunch 
advocates for cropt heads, for which indeed they might 
plead the text of Saint Paul, who says '' that if a man 
have long hair it is a shame unto him," though he 
admits *' if a woman have long hair it is a glory to 

* *' Acdflis crinibus, nudatam, cotam propinquis expellit domo 
maritus.'* Tadti Oermania, cap. xix. 

t Eginhartus De Vita et Geatis Caroli Magm^ cap. i. p. 15, 4to. 
Trajeci' ad Rhenum, 

X ** TWsrapxov Avodeyfiara BamXtutv,** — Opera, vol. i. p. 627. 
4to. Oxon. 1795. Edit. D. Wjttenback. 

§ 1 Corinthians, xi. 14 and 15. 


To lose the girdle. — ^"The other proverb was, il a 
quitte sa cemtare, he has given up his girdle, which inti- 
mated as much as if he had become bankrupt, or had all 
his estate forfeited, it being the ancient law of France 
that when any, upon some offence, had that penalty of 
confiscation inflicted upon him, he used before the tri- 
bunal of justice to give up his girdle, implying hereby 
that the girdle held everything that belonged to man's 
estate, as his budgett of money and writings, the keys of 
his house, with his sword, dagger, gloves, &c.'* 

Various sayings, however, and meanings were attached 
to the girdle. Aubrey,* whom I have so often had oc- 
casion to quote, has as usual some pleasant gossip on 
this subject. He observes, " in Saint John's Gospel + it 
is sayd, let your hynes he girt. It was accounted before 
the Civill Warrs a very undecent and dissolute thing for 
a man to goe without his girdle, in so much that 'twas 
a proverbe, — ungirt and unhlest, Riolanus in his Anatomic 
of the Vertebrae quotes the aforesayd text, and saies 
that that part ungirt makes men to be libidinous.'* It 
may be doubted however whether both Aubrey and 
Riolanus have not mistaken Saint John, who eeems to 
mean nothing more by the phrase than ** be ready, keep 
yourselves prepared." 

In another place, entering more at lengtJi into the sub- 
ject, the first-mentioned of these writers says, " many 
conceive they are unblest until they put on their girdles ; 
wherein there are involved considerations j for by a girdle 
or cincture are symbolically implied Truth, Resolution, 
and Readiness for Action, which are parts and virtues 
required in the service of God. According whereto the 
Israelites did eat the Paschal Lamb with their loins 

• Aubrey* 8 Remains of Gentilisme and Judaisme, fol. 122, 
MS. Brit. Mu8. 
t Chap. V. 


girded. And the Almighty bids Job gird up his loyns 
like a man. So the high priest was girt with a girdle 
of fine linen. So it is sayd concerning our Saviour, 
' righteousness shall be the girdle of his loyns, and faith- 
fulness the girdle of his reins !* Unto this day the Jews 
doe blessee themselves when they put on their zone or 
cincture. The heart and parts which God requires are 
divided from the inferior or concupiscential organs^ im- 
plying thereby a memento unto purification and clean- 
ness of heart, which is commonly defiled for the concu- 
piscence and affection of those parts. And thus we may 
make out the doctrine of Pythagoras^ to ofifer sacrifice 
with our feet naked $ that is, that our inferior parts and 
farthest removed from reason might be free and of no 
impediment to us.** 

Amongst the Persians too we find the girdle was an 
emblem of significance. Upon arriving at years of dis* 
cretion the Persian youth were invested with the cincture 
or girdle, when they renewed and ratified their religious 
obligations. It may be said to have been their sacrament 
of Confirmation.* In the Sad-dbr, the sacred book of 
Zoroaster, both men and women are enjoined to put on 
the girdle, called Camar, such being the command of God 
himself, as a token of obedience towards the Creator. 
This duty is even coupled with the giving of alms, and 
we are farther told that the girdle expels demons, and con- 
fers so much merit on the wearer, that if he have done 
no other good, this alone will secure him a place in 
Paradise.f Nor is the superstition by any means confined 

* Beausobre, ** Hist, de Manichee,** vol. i. livre ii. chap. iv. 
p. 198, 

f *' Praeoeptum hoc est in omni 8u& Tit&, tarn viris tarn faeminis, re- 
ligiosis incumbens alligare cingulum et praestare eleemosynas ; nam 
alligare custi, seu cingulum, etiam dictum Camar, est pneceptum Dei, 
cum sit signum obedientias ergo Creatorem. Cingulum fuit Gjem> 
flhidi institutum quo omnes daemones fugavit ; fuit enlm ex ejus cin- 


to the Persians. All the Christians of the Levant, 
whether Syrians, Arabs, or Egyptians, deem it irreligious 
to go to church without their girdle}* and the monks 
use a girdle with twelve knots to show that they are fol- 
lowers of the twelve apostles. Hence ^has come their 
ceremony of excommunication $ when any one is ex- 
pelled from the communion of the church, the bishop 
cuts, or tears from him his girdle, as will appear from the 
following anecdote. 

Al-Motavacces, Emperor of the Arabs, had In his ser- 
vice a skilful physician named Honai'n. He was of those 
Arabs, who professed Christianity, and whom they 
termed Al-Ebad, a word signifying those who served only 
the Creator, while AUAhid designates those who serve 
the creatures also. Honai'n seeing at a Christian's, in 
Bagdad, a picture representing Christ and his disciples, 
before which they burnt a lamp, said to the master of the 
house, " why waste your oil so uselessly, for this is neither 
Christ nor his apostles, but their images?" Another 
Christian, who was present, and who envied the physi- 
cian's good fortune, replied, " if this picture be not 
worthy of adoration, spit upon it.*' Honai'n did so, and 
the high -priest being informed of it, excommunicated 
him and cut his girdle from him.t 

gulo et chuna, seu illuminatione, qudd evacuata fuerint opera diabo- 
lorum ; nam quicunque cingulo ditatus est, ex dimidi^ potestate 
diaboli evasit, et in dimidiam potestatem Dei poailus est. Ipse in 
avorum religionem credet ; et qui cingulo medium cingit, si prseterea 
nullum aliud in mundo bonum opus habet, is tamen de omnibus sep- 
tem teme climatum mentis (seu bonis operibus) particeps erit in vi£L 
religionis." Historia Religioms Veterum Peraarum, — AutoreT, Hyde^ 
p. 441. 4to. Oxon. 1700. 

* " Et ilia Christi Domini sententiH, sint lumbi vestri pr€Bcinetif &e. 
Syri, Arabes, et Egyptii Christiani religioni [contiariura] ducunt ad 
ecclesiam absque zonk accedere." — BibKotheca OrientaliSj Autore 
J. S. Assemano, tom. iii. parsi. p. 359. col. 2. 

t Beauflobre, livre ii. c. iv. p. 199. 



This name, or that of Richard Burton, appears in the 
title-pages of several curious volumes published about the 
end of the seventeenth, and the beginning of the eigh- 
teenth century by a bookseller of the name of Nathaniel 
Crouch. In the Bodleian Catalogue they are marked as 
being written by Burton, alias Crouch, and some have 
thought they have been written by the bookseller himself. 
I am not aware of any grounds for the suspicion, though 
no doubt there must have been some reasons for it, whe- 
ther true or false. Whoever he was, Aubrey himself was 
not a more determined collector of gossip whether by 
hearsay or by reading ; nothing seems to have come amiss 
to him except Popish miracles, and in regard to them he 
is no less hard of belief than he is credulous on all other 
occasions. No great use perhaps is to be derived from 
any of his works, as numerous and as small as the fry 
of sticklebacks in the New River, but there is some 
amusement in glancing at these, or at any other old re- 
cords of credulity, independent of which he has many 
pieces of pleasant gossip that are no doubt true enough 


in the main. In endeavouring to make my readers ac- 
quainted with the character of this author, I shall con- 
fine myself to his Admirable Curiositieaf as being the most 
interesting of his publications. 

WottorCs Dream, — "In 1533 Nicholas Wotton, Dean of 
Canterbury^ being then ambassador in France, dreamed 
that his nephew, Thomas Wotton, was inclined to be a 
party in such a project, as, if he were not suddenly pre- 
vented, would turn to the loss of his life, and ruin of his 
family. The night following he dreamed the same again 3 
and knowing that it had no influence on his waking 
thoughts, and much less the desires of his heart, he did 
the more seriously consider it, and resolved to use so 
prudent a remedy by way of precaution, as might be no 
great inconvenience to either party 3 and thereupon writ 
a letter to Queen Mary, that she would cause his nephew 
to be sent for out of Kent, and that the council might 
interrogate him in such feigned questions as might colour 
his commitment into a favourable prison, of which he 
would hereafter give her majesty the true reason. This 
was done accordingly ; and soon after, the queen being 
married to King Philip, divers persons declared and raised 
forces against it, among whom Sir Thomas Wyatt of 
Kent — with whom the family of the Wotton s had an 
entire friendship — was the principal, who, being defeated, 
suffered death with many others for the same; and of 
the number Mr. Wotton probably had been 3 for he after- 
wards confessed to his uncle that he had some strong in- 
timation of Wyatt's design, and believed he should have 
engaged in it, if his uncle had not dreamed him into 

The sagacity of the Dean that led him to this fortunate 
. dream, and the prudent use he made of his miraculous 

* Admirable Curiosities^ p. 103. 12mo. London. 1737. 


knowledge cannot be too much admired. It would be 
unjust to demolish a tale so happily imagined, by hinting 
that he must have had some general notion of the dispo- 
sition both of his nephew and of his intimate friend, 
although he was in all likelihood ignorant of their pre- 
cise designs. 

The Mayor and Provost, — "It is memorable what 
^cruel sport Sir William Kingston, the provost mar- 
shal, made by virtue of his office on men in misery. 
One Boyer, mayor of Bodmin in Cornwall, had been 
amongst the rebels, not willingly but enforced. To him 
the provost sent word he would come and dine with him, 
for whom the mayor made great provision. A little be- 
fore dinner the provost took the mayor aside, and whis- 
pered him in the ear that an execution must that day be 
done in the town, and therefore requested to have a pair 
of gallows set up against dinner was done. The mayor 
provided them accordingly. Presently after dinner, the 
provost, taking the mayor by the hand, entreated him to 
show him the place where the gallows was, which when 
he beheld, he asked the mayor if he thought them to be 
strong enough, 'yes,' said the mayor; 'doubtless they 
are.' — ' Well then,' said the provost, ' get you up, 
speedily, for they arc provided for you.' — ' I hope,' said 
the mayor, ' you do not mean as you speak.' — ' In faith,' 
says the provost, ' there is no remedy, for you have been 
a base rebel.' — And so without respite or defence he was 
hanged to deaths a most uncourteous part for a host to 
offer to his guest."* 

The Miller, — "Near the same place dwelled a miller, that 
had been very active in that rebellion, f who fearing the 

* Admirable Curiosities^ p. 35. 

f In the second year of King Edward the Sixth, the king had issued 
orders that all images should be removed from the churches,that prayers 
to saints or for the dead sheuld be discontinued, and that the clergy 


approach of the marshal^ told a sturdy fellow, his servant, 
that he had occasion to go from home, and if any man 
should enquire for the miller, he bid him say that he was 
the miller and had been for three years before. Soon after 
the provost came, and called for the miller, when out 
comes the servant, and says he was the man. The pro- 
vost demanded how long he had kept the mill. Three 
years, answered the servant. The provost then com- 
manded his men to lay hold of him and hang him on the 
next tree. At this the fellow cried out, that he was not 
the miller but the miller's man. • Nay, sir,* said the pro- 
vost, ' I will take you at your word 5 and if thou bees I 
the miller, thou art a busy knave ; and if thou b^es't not, 
thou art a false-lying knave j and, however, thou canst 
not do thy master better service than to hang for him.' 
And so without more ado he was despatched.'* * 

The Suitors, — " At the dissolution of abbeys, King Henry 
the Eighth gave away large shares to almost every one 
that asked. Among other instances, take this merry story. 

should dissuade the people from the use of beads, ashes, processions, 
and masses in a foreign language. To enforce these injunctions 
commissioners were sent down into Cornwall, but so general was the 
feeling on the subject, that when one of them attempted to pull down 
the images in a certain church he was stabbed in the body by a Popish 
priest, and the whole mass of the people rose in rebellion, demanding 
to have the Latin mass again and the revival of the six articles of 
Henry VIII., commonly known as the Bloody Articles, The king, 
or rather those employed by him, condescended to reason with these 
fanatics, and tried to make them comprehend that the laws in question 
were cruel and oppressive to the people, reminding them at the same 
time how often the king had been obliged by those very edicts to be 
severe upon his subjects. The fanatics however were not to be talked 
into reason, and the matter coming to the arbitrcment of the sword, 
they were finally put down after a desperate resistance, and punished 
with the same severity that they were so willing to exercise toward 

* Admirable Curiosities, p. 37. 

VOL. I, Q 


It happened that two or three gentlemen, the king's ser- 
vants, waited at the door where the king was to come out« 
with a design to beg a large parcel of abbey-lands. One 
Mr. John Champernoun, another of his servants, seeing 
them, was very inquisitive to know their suit, but they 
would not impartit to him. In the meantime out comes the 
king. They kneeled down -, so doth Champernoun, being 
assured by an implicit faith that they would beg nothing 
hurtful to themselves. They present their petition 3 the 
king grants it; they render him humble thanks; so doth 
Mr. Champernoun. Afterwards he requires his share ; they 
deny it ; he appeals to the king, who avows that he 
meant they should have equal shares, whereupon his 
companions were forced to allot him the Priory of Saint 
Germain, in Cornwall, valued at two hundred and forty 
three pounds a year, so that a dumb beggar met a blind 
giver, the one as little knowing what he asked as the 
other what he gave.*' * 

* Admirable Curiositiea, p. 36. 


59 i 4359